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Experience April/May 2023

Not Just Another Roadside Attraction

Jennifer J Rose


  • There are diverse reasons people travel.
  • Even the minor mundane experiences on your journeys can leave lasting impressions.
Not Just Another Roadside Attraction
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It’s about the journey, they say. Remember Icelandic Airlines, People’s Express, and Texas International’s Peanut Fares? And airlines doling out playing cards, stationery, plastic wings, swizzle sticks, and amenity kits that rivaled frequent flier miles in many memories?

Of course, you do.

Don’t tell anyone: I possess several place settings of silverware from defunct airlines.

Some people travel for black diamond ski trails and exclusive golf courses, and others for theater. Still others search out family roots, health, food, slums, sex, ecology, nature, history, religion, wildlife, volunteer opportunities, and authenticity. Bragging rights and shopping aren’t far behind. A fancy shopping center trumps the Northern Lights every time for me.

Our takeaways from travel aren’t always what we expect. Ask me about a trip to Lake Van in the Armenian highlands when I was three, and I’ll tell you about a peasant woman cradling a goose on her lap on the bus. The highlights aboard Britannic en route to New York in the mid-1950s included green Jell-O for the first time, everyone speaking a foreign language (which turned out to be English), and locking myself in our stateroom.

In more recent years, the Çırağan Palace, an Istanbul hotel, left a greater impression upon me than the Dolmabahçe Palace, and a restaurant in Ortaköy served up the oddest and most expensive rendition of Mexican food I’ve ever seen.

The frantic search for a lost family member who wandered outside made the Prado more memorable than all the art it harbored. Even an emergency trip to the dentist in Bogota took on a different hue than it would back on home territory. Distance makes the quotidian just a little shinier, a tad more memorable.

This issue of Experience examines at what impels us to travel and what we glean from leaving home.

Joe Weeg travels to be reminded about the kindness of others. Joan Burda insists that walking in England is so much more civilized than plying stateside trails. Gerald J. Todaro bikes in Italy for food and wine. Alex Tiffany explains why we should travel off the beaten path to places like Albania and Sri Lanka.

Kevin McGoff takes us on a wine tour, telling us how to pick the one that’s right for us. I weigh in on about why travel to Mexico makes more sense now than ever. For those not inclined to leave their zip codes, Seth Kramer points out how every trip starts with a single step.

In a streaming world filled with British mysteries, Stephen Terrell finds love and murder, and David Zachary Kaufman shows us how to stay safe when we’re traveling on our own without the vigilance of a tour guide, cruise director, or wingman.

This issue of Experience inspired me to pull the trigger, cashing in miles for a trip to South America. Let’s hope it makes you do something and make plans, whether it’s for that trip you’ve been putting off or simply a walk around the block.

And wait for it…Our July/August issue takes you to the only thing promised in life that’s more certain than taxes.

We promise you won’t be disappointed.