Chief navigator, Gold Boat Journeys (Creative Cultural Travel). Writer, editor & photographer. Strategic social media & digital content creator. http://www.gold-boat.com/cultural-travel-starts-here/
Lured by Matsuo Basho, one of Japan’s best known haiku poets and the author of The Narrow Road to the Deep North, I traveled to Japan in search of insights that could be crystallized in simple words and images. During our 17-day trip, I took at least one smartphone photo to post with an accompanying haiku every day. This practice allowed me to routinely reflect on the contrasts between old and new that I found most striking in this place where tradition and technology collide: schoolgirls in demure uniforms boarding streamlined bullet trains, kimono-clad teenagers snapping selfies and a woman hiking to a mountain temple in high heels. It also helped me to focus on moments of joy in nature: seeing Japanese macaques for the first time near Nagano, capturing the nighttime reflection of white-lit Black Crow Castle in Matsumoto and watching herons land in rice fields along a canal-lined bike route near Takashima. It’s a writing/photography routine I’ve continued to follow every day since.
We’ve spent some time in this space praising Iceland and its precious natural wonders. But it isn’t all fun and Northern lights up there: A reader named Ellen Girardeau Kempler sends over a hilarious satirical essay she wrote poking fun at the country’s tourism boom. Kempler spent some time in Iceland for a writer’s retreat, prompting her to provide “my reaction to the relentless marketing machine behind the branding of Iceland as a tourist destination.”
Author’s Disclaimer: Brand Iceland is a tame and tourist-friendly destination created purely for marketing purposes. Any resemblance to the actual country of Iceland—home to a UNESCO City of Literature; a parliamentary system over 1,000 years old; a written history (as told in the Icelandic sagas) marked by battles with the elements and each other; and some of the planet’s wildest and most dangerous landscapes (including scalding geysers, pools and rivers; deadly rip currents; active volcanoes; yawning crevasses; unstable glaciers; moving tectonic plates; sheer, windswept cliffs; slippery mountain trails; volatile weather; and violent waterfalls)—is purely coincidental.
Meet The Lads Who Wrote The Books On Irish Slang via The Culture Trip, October 8, 2015
As a child growing up on the forested top of a Eugene hill, I escaped every summer day into your shady, sun-kissed bower of delight. The cool forest beckoned right next door to our house on Douglas Drive. "Doug firs" lined a dirt road into what seemed then like unexplored wilderness. Although I knew the route by heart, the unheard, unseen possibility of unexpected excitement lay hidden in the forest.
The Year My Family Went to Norway — Midcentury Mode...
Once a Backpackers' Pit Stop, Puerto Natales, Chile, is Now Eco-Lodge Heaven, Culturist, February 18, 2014
For decades, the small town of Puerto Natales, Chile, has been known among backpackers as the gateway to the challenging trails, glacial lakes and granite spires of Torres del Paine National Park. But as less-adventurous tourists have discovered this paradise at the end of the world, this region of Chilehas reinvented itself as ecolodge heaven. Among the best ecolodges in Puerto Natales is Bories House, a ranch-style, “boutique country inn” on a country road a few miles outside town.
Here are this week's three links worth following:
Half Landscape, Half Human: The National Park Foundation's ad campaign blends human faces with natural and historical landmarks to highlight the role of individual donors in preserving the places they love--with startling and beautiful results.
A Guidebook to Keep Black Travelers Safe: In 1949, postman Victor Green started publishing The Green Book, listing gas, lodging and other establishments where Black motorists could fill up, take a bathroom break, eat or stay overnight. It was dangerous for them to stop anywhere else, especially in the southern states. The entire book is available as a PDF from the Henry Ford Museum Library. To learn more, listen to this recent Travel with Rick Steves podcast.
Surfing U.S...S.R., Er, Russia? According to the L.A. Times, the surf's apparently up 4,000 miles from Moscow, on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. Although the water temperature off the coast never rises above 50 F (10 C), the reporter quoted one surfer as saying, "People who have been to America say it's like California." That's surfing spirit you might want to mix with a shot (or two) of Smirnoff.
In an age of inbox overload, where almost every email is a product or marketing pitch, personal letters can be rare and welcome gifts. I first experimented with personal email letters for business eight years ago, when, as the Laguna Canyon Foundation's communications and marketing director, I was charged by the board with designing and launching our first digital newsletter.
Every visitor to California should consider exploring L.A. for at least a few days. Thanks to L.A.’s expanding Metrolink and bus transit system, your trip can even be partially or completely car-free. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your visit:
I use a social sharing app that sends me a message every time I write a tweet that exceeds 140 characters, “Oops, your tweet is too long. You’ll have to be more clever.”
What French writer Blaise Pascal wrote in 1657 is even more relevant in the age of tiny screens, text, mobile apps, and, yes, tweets: “I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”
Today's California Memory comes from Ellen Girardeau Kempler:
“When I moved to L.A. in 1983, driving the freeways terrified me. In my hometown, Eugene, Ore., there was one straight interstate. You merged on once and then you got off. L.A. traffic was one big tangle. I drove hunched over, gripping the steering wheel with two hands. I had to sing to the radio to keep myself from hyperventilating as trucks rumbled by. Getting lost became so routine that I got used to pulling over to consult my dog-eared, phonebook-sized Thomas Guide. I worked the puzzle of side streets and onramps so many times that finally the pieces fell into place and I could breathe again.”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011, the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur bills itself as a place “where nothing happens.” The outspoken Miller would have appreciated the irony. This memorial library has no dedicated tribute and does not lend books.