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June 1, 2023

Get out of town

I haven’t traveled nearly as much as I’d like to. So many places to see, so little vacation time to take advantage of. I hope I won’t have to wait for retirement to finally visit wonders like the Great Barrier Reef or the Great Wall of China, since I’m nowhere near retirement and my body falls apart more and more each year. 

Two women standing in front of a castle
My niece and I at Elsinore Castle on my last vacation in Denmark.

You can have a great time on a trip you plan yourself, but joining an organized travel experience will save you research time and might introduce you to sights you wouldn’t know about otherwise. Here are a few I’ve come across that I hope to experience or re-experience before I or the planet disintegrates.

Vegan-friendly adventuring

VegNews Food Lover’s Tour of Thailand

I’ve done almost no traveling in Asia, and it’s a gap in my travel experiences I’d very much like to bridge. I’m also a vegetarian, and a hungry one at that, so I am dying to go to the VegNews Food Lover’s Tour of Thailand. The trip includes a vegetarian festival, cooking classes, and dining at the best vegan restaurants, all which are enough to sell me. Other highlights, per the website, include local culture and exploring: “Travel by gondola through peaceful canals; island hop and snorkel in the Andaman Sea; visit a wildlife rehabilitation center.” And, my favorite, “Explore the backstreets of Bangkok.”

Two gondolas in water
Vegnews offers a delicious-sounding vegan tour of Thailand twice a year.

For the literary nerd

The Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival

The long-running Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival features performances, talks on local history and culture, writing classes, a scholar’s conference, and much more, against the backdrop of the mysterious and vibrant French Quarter.  I attended it many years ago and loved it. Bonus: the organizers also host the Saints+Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival the same weekend.

While info is not yet available for 2024, you can peruse the 2023 schedule for info on the kinds of activities you can expect. In 2023 the festival introduced a Stella Shouting Conference, which is not just hilarious but also raised funds for combating domestic violence. 

And, of course, you can consume your weight in beignets and get all hopped up on chicory coffee like I did.

a busy street at dusk with many people milling about
New Orleans + Tennessee Williams = an indulgent literary experience.

Do nature like a scientist

Magical Galapagos: Wonders of Evolution

Atlas Obscura’s trips are pricey, but they also sound fantastic — planned by local experts and often with a sustained focus, such as “Tracking Wolves in the Forests of Sweden” or “India: The Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunji.” 

Of their current selections, the trip “Magical Galapagos: Wonders of Evolution” most grabs my fancy — a nature experience with comfort, which is perfect for me, an indoors person. Per their website, you’ll “snorkel through crystal clear waters, hike along wild volcanic ridges, and get a living lesson on ecology and conservation in one of the planet’s most fascinating, unique and wondrous habitats.” It’s a chance to see many rare birds and other wildlife that inspired Darwin’s theories. The giant tortoises most excite me.

a giant tortoise
There are a ton of interesting animals on the Galapagos Island, but I think I would love the giant tortoises the most.

Where are you planning or yearning to go? 

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