The New York Times Travel Show, 2014

Dreamscape

Dreamscape

Dance in China

Dance in China

Joseph Rosendo

Joseph Rosendo

Guide Please

Guide Please

Malaysian Welcome

Malaysian Welcome

 

Have I mentioned lately how much I love what I do?  ‘Tis the time of year when I received one of my most coveted press passes…a pass that leads to planes, trains and automobiles (river boats and luxury cruise ships) as well as every continent on earth.  The New York Times Travel Show consistently satiates my wanderlust!  It is a three day feast with photography of the most beautiful sites on earth, music, art, dance, cuisine and some of the best travel adventures offered at discounted prices.

Walking through the exhibit floor, I tasted bubble tea, learned how to salsa with Danza Fiesta, heard the spiritual sounds of the Himalayas from Sonam Adventures and received a sample of a new product, “LiveLeaf Traveler Protect and LiveLeaf Traveler Rescue” which provides “fast, natural relief from digestive distress”. Christmas came early! Seriously though, this company has also developed a program called “Lifedrops” dedicated to saving children’s lives by reducing the burden of diarrhea in developing third world countries and have very interesting technology behind their products. I will let you know if it is yea or nay on my upcoming trip abroad.

Some people speed date, I speed travel! Delving into  intimate details,  one exhibit to the next, I gathered every brochure, postcard and pen in site.  This time around, the Asian continent won my heart.  I want to walk (and dance) along the Great Wall of China, photograph the world’s oldest and most historically important trade routes known as The Silk Road and not just watch the wonderful PBS documentary entitled, “In the Footsteps of Marco Polo”.  I want to explore Malaysia with a video camera showcasing  their healthcare and be one of the many tourists now allowed into Myanmar.  If exotic and far off places are calling to you but a fear to explore on your own is holding you back or if you realized that some of the most memorable moments of travel are when one goes off the beaten path with the locals then Tours by Locals.com  should be your next click on Google!

Armed with the maps and collages of my dreams, I then spent the afternoon in the travel seminars taking in the sage advice of experts in the travel field.  The Frommer’s revealed their top destinations for 2014.  Joseph Rosendo, award-winning travel journalist and Emmy-winning director, had an eloquence that wove together philosophy, mysticism, reality and a La Joie de Vivre! Joseph captured the soul of many beautiful places around the world. Having been in India, I sat in full agreement with him when he described this land in the following way: “India is waiting to grab you with its color and humanity. It shakes you up and delivers gifts. It is a constant invitation to live with joyous , unexpected life changing experiences around every bend.” Andrew Evans , National Geographic’s Digital Nomad,  detoured from the common held creation of a “bucket list” but rather suggested that, “Travel shouldn’t be a list we are working through but rather it should be a constant surprise!” “Spontaneous moments occur when we put ourselves out there and let things happen!”  He spent 300 days on the road last year and had amazing stories about moments…still, adventurous, scary and beautiful.  These moments are creating a life so well lived.

Mr. Rosendo began his talk with something I will use to end this piece.  “If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” (Thoreau).  The New York Times Travel Show establishes the path of beginnings; beginnings of dreams to travel, to gain wisdom and insights about the world  and in my case, to photograph. If held close, then I think we will live a life far greater than we could have ever imagined.

 

“Without A Spare” A Fearless Woman’s Life of Travel by Bonnie Kassel

Without A Spare

The New York Times Travel Show is not only a catalyst, stroking the desire to see fascinating far off places but it is also a hub to meet very interesting and creative people. One postcard being handed out caught my attention straight away! Who doesn’t love a red volkswagen? A car with character and a personality for sure. One took me all through Peru! “A fearless woman’s life of travel”…yes, I am there. Put that book in my hands! I have spent the last week being on a fascinating roller coaster of travels. Bonnie is the ultimate “free spirit”. All one has to do is look at the table of contents: “Europe 101”, “Bonlez, Belgium”, “Motoring Through the Sudan”, “Eritrean Guerrillas”, “The Himalayays”, “Sri Lanka and the Maldives” to name just a few! As one who loves the visual, I was disappointed that there were so few photographs throughout the book but then I read how so many roles of film were taken while abroad (I felt Bonnie’s pain)! Her writing however was a feast for the imagination. The reader is able to breathe the same air, see vibrant colors and hear the cacophony of street sounds. Bonnie travelled with an open heart allowing so many rich and sometimes horrifying experiences to be woven into her life’s story… a train was missed but this led to crossing paths with a yacht owner! I can only imagine what an interesting conversation would have taken place if Bonnie Kassel were to sit with Robert Frost! “Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and this has made all the difference.” Reading “Without a Spare” will not only open doors to countries and cultures for the reader but will perhaps also inspire them to walk through them.

New York Times Travel Show: Oh Take Me Away!

New York Times Travel Show 2013

New York Times Travel Show 2013
As I sit inside with the temperature down to 17 degrees and the snow up to three inches as we speak, I thought I would take out my notes from Arthur and Pauline Frommer again to pass along the most popular destinations predicted for 2013. China seems to take the spot for number 1! There is a 10 night city tour available with flights from JFK for $1399. In Frommer’s words, “Everyone should see the Great Wall of China in their lifetime.” (Sounds great to me!). He said this is the best price for a destination he has been able to find.

Ireland has been suffering badly from an economic downturn. One very savy marketing company decided that since Ireland is known for its hospitality and “party spirit” that this year would be known as “The Gathering” with celebrations going on at a spot in Ireland for the entire year. I absolutely love Ireland and its people. For me, this is a definite, “going home” experience when I travel there, so I am putting together a trip in July/August.(If you would like to join us, just let me know! We will have such great “CRAIC” which in the Irish language translates to good times, gossip, music, drinking, debauchery and good clean fun!…a type of mantra for me!).

India was next in the countdown due to the exchange rate. So much can be done and purchased now making India a very popular draw. (It happens to be one of my favorite draws any year!).

Dubai is putting forth quite the effort to lure tourists, but the elder Frommer was unable to recommend this travel destination. Having never been myself, I am unable to comment.

Here at home, Miami Beach is enjoying a huge surge in tourists. Colorado and Washington have been drawing many due to the legalization of marijuana and its huge appeal. New Orleans has just completed its 3rd of 6 buildings dedicated as a World War II museum which is a fascinating exploration of history.

Caral, Peru has attracted so much attention from the pyramids and ruins discovered after nearly a decade of excavation. It is now deemed to be the oldest city in the western hemisphere. The difficulty at this point in time is that there is only one local hotel which often is filled to capacity by many archaeologists.

Frommer predicts this will one of the top destinations when they are able to keep up with the tourists coming in. Next in the line-up would be Oslo, Norway. With the building of the acclaimed Opera House, it has become a major landmark with over 1.3 million visitors in 2008 and is the largest cultural building to be constructed since the beginning of the 14th century.

Many continue to yearn for a trip to Cuba but according to the speakers, it is still too overpriced which is exactly what I have discovered so my trip is on hold.

If you saw the “Life Of Pi” and loved the scenery, Taiwan is the place to visit. Amsterdam was voted the Best in Travel in 2013 by the Lonely Planet and January 2013 was the beginning of the year-long role as Europe’s Cultural Capital which was bestowed upon Marseille,France. So many wonderful places to see and so little time (and money!). A girl can dream can’t I?!

New York Times Travel Show 2013

New York Times Travel Show

New York Times Travel Show

Arthur FrommerThundering Waterfalls of the Caribbean, the Golden Buddha of Thailand, The Great Wall of China…imagine being in the center of it all! One of my most coveted possessions is the press pass I receive each year for the New York Times Travel Show (even though my name was spelled incorrectly, I think they meant it for me)! This show feeds my wanderlust while keeping me up with the latest technology and trends of the travel world. One can meander through the aisles from continent to continent sampling foods, listening to musical accompaniment while many happy people share the most unique characteristics of their countries. Concurrently, there are one hour workshops happening from 10am – 5pm in three different conference rooms on the lower level of the Jacob Javits Convention Center. So many wonderful decisions to be made. So many wonderful connections to be made! During this week, I will be going through all of my notes and passing along a synthesis of the many workshops I attended.

After visiting the elegant American Express Lounge for a cappuccino planning session as to what should come first, no one can go wrong with this father and daughter team… Arthur and Pauline Frommer always share such valuable information and I have provided the link for each recommendation. The following are companies offering customized experiences: Vayable.com,
UrbanAdventures.com, Gidsy.com, HomeFood.it . Small Group Tours are offered by: Intrepid Travel, G Adventures, Djoser Tours and adventure consultants are Adventure Center, Adventure Link. Short volunteer vacations are provided by: Parismina Turtles.org, Give The Kids The World , British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, Colorado Trail Foundation while companies specializing in longer volunteer vacations are Global Volunteers, Earthwatch, Vaughan Systems, American Hiking Society. In order to get the best airfares, they suggested the following sites: Hipmunk.com, DoHop.com, Momondo.comm. Booking on a Tuesday or Wednesday, six weeks in advance seems to provide the best prices. Non-direct flights and two one way tickets may be cheaper. It is such a smart move to follow your favorite airline and hotels on Twitter and Facebook since they are competing with Orbis and Kayak so they will offer discounted deals to their followers but they may only last for a few hours so this way, you will always get the notification. TripTwit will add in this. If you are daring and would like to break out of the hotel box, VROB, Flipkey.com, Endlessvacations.com, Air B&B offer homes and apartments to rent. often directly from the owner. As far as the airlines go, it is so disheartening that Spirit is now charging for bags going in the overhead compartment while SouthWest and Jet Blue have resisted many of the extra check in charges.
Arthur and Pauline are both gifted speakers and are consummate professionals in the travel industry. Their website is one to definitely bookmark while waiting for the 2014 show date to be announced!

Stay tuned…much more information is forthcoming!

The New York Times Travel Show

Receiving a press pass for the New York Times Travel Show this past weekend was similar to receiving the “keys to the kingdom”!!! One could meander through aisles and experience continental wonders …beautiful colors and vistas, music and food from culture after culture. If one wanted to know when Cuba would be open to travel or how to plan an African Safari or how to make the most of social media while on a trip, the New York Times brought in many famous speakers to address these topics. Arthur and Pauline Frommer offered their sage wisdom on how to offset the high cost of airline tickets by choosing alternative lodgings of private homes and apartments which could lead to a much deeper experience of place by immersion with local people and hundreds of dollars in savings. www.airbnb as well as www.wimdu.com. Pauline suggested booking 4-6 weeks before departure and doing this on either Tues. or Wed. rather than the weekend. In order to find reduced rates, follow airlines on Twitter around 11 am because they are trying to compete with Expedia etc. and will offer very special rates for a few hours to those that are following them on social media. Non direct flights as well as 2 one way tickets could be cheaper in cost. Autoslash is an excellent site to provide lower car rental costs. They will make bookings for each client and if the cost drops, they will send out an email. SeatGuru is the ultimate source for determining if premium seating on flights is truly worth the cost. They also suggested contacting ethnic travel companies in order to experience the culture more directly. Global Greeters connects locals who are very happy to provide tours of their homeland for free.

Samantha Brown reminded us all of how important it is to be flexible and to know the key words of “Hello”, “Please”, “Thank You” in the country you are fortunate enough to be visiting…”better to butcher a language but to show you are trying to make the connection.” Travel is so much about getting past the picture postcard image and connecting with the people. She also suggested visiting the local market for a very quick language lesson by reading the signs and becoming familiar with the types of food in that locale.

.My day ended with a conversation with Mark Murphy, the author of “Travel Unscripted”. He is a 20 year travel veteran who shares his first hand extraordinary experiences in this new book. To quote Rudy Maxa from public television, “Mark Murphy brings a conversational voice, an impertinent ‘tude’, and a wry eye to life on the road.”

So here I sit, surrounded by beautiful photographs and brochure after brochure offering very enticing offers. I am off to Europe this spring and then who knows…it is all so captivating!

Copyright 2012 Frances Schwabenland. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission of Frances Schwabenland.