OF ONE YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
VOLUNTEER OR INTERN FALL/WINTER/SUMMER PERU FIJI BELIZE U G A N DA T H A I L A N D INDIA PHILIPPINES
A P P LY ONLINE : W W W.HE L P -IN T E R N AT IO N A L. O R G www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 3
Screaming through Springtime
Celebrate! Cultural Festivals around the World
Leave Your Luggage
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A Garden Getaway: A Look into Portland’s Gardens
Feel the Rhythm: Discovering the Heartbeat of Jamaica
Paradise Found: The Islands of Indonesia
A History toward Happiness
Science Tourism around the Globe
The Best of Berlin
Dealing with Travel Crises
Photo by Calvin Smith
Editor’s Note: The Changing Power of Travel
Kites on the Horizon Real Gypsies Seoul Power: Korean Culture in Television Drama
Sacred Wonders of the World
Curbside Cuisine: Tasting Cultures in Food Markets
Four Corners of the Kitchen: Limes
Australia by Rail One-Wheel Wanderings
Choose to Serve
Tales from the Trip Photo Contest Winners
Swallowing the Unsavory
The New Art Tour
Traveling with Kids Paradise for a Penny Flying Solo
Packing Smart with PackPoint
Quiz: Discover Your Ideal Destination
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Stephanie Bahr Bentley
Assistant Managing Editor
Caroline Bliss Larsen
Assistant Art Director
Assistant Art Director
Copyeditor & Senior Designer
Senior Editor & Senior Designer
Social Media Advisor Advertising Team Ellice Tan* Sarah Juchau Stephanie Bahr Bentley Social Media Team Ellice Tan Hayley Bird* Kenna Blaylock Naomi Clegg
Editor in Chief
Marvin Gardner Publisher
We would like to give a special thank-you to our sponsors, NuSkin and Deryl Eastman, for their generous donations to Stowaway.
ÂŠ 2015 Suzy Bills 4064 JFSB, Brigham Young University Provo, Utah 84602 Printed by Brigham Young University Press
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Web Team Caroline Bliss Larsen Kate Keller Kelsey Allan Editorial Team Kelsey Allan Meg Monk *Team Leaders
Stowaway is produced as a project for English Language 430R, Editing for Publication, the capstone class of the editing minor at Brigham Young University. All staff members contributed to planning, writing, editing, designing, and advertising. The views expressed in this publication are solely the views of the authors and do not represent the views or opinions of BYU.
Photos by Christena Bentley
Photo courtesy of Disposable Dreams
The Changing Power of Travel In Lewis Caroll’s well-known tale Alice in Wonderland, Alice comes across many fascinating creatures and odd happenings. Toward the end of her adventures, Alice comes to converse with a caterpillar and says, “I’m not myself, you see.” “So you think you’re changed, do you?” asks Caterpillar. “I’m afraid I am, sir,” says Alice. As you travel, as you leave your homes and visit new lands, new cultures, or new atmospheres, you may have many adventures and you, like Alice, will be changed. In 2010, I left the borders of the United States for the first time to spend a few months in Chile. As I sat in the 16-plushour plane ride, I reflected on the things I was leaving behind—my family, my friends, my studies, my favorite restaurants. While reminiscing on all the things I would miss, I caught a glimpse of the sight out of the small window to my left. The once-dark morning sky had changed to a glorious expanse of light. I pressed my nose against the thick glass to see the sun’s rays hit the peaks of the vast mountain range. I saw rivers and lakes illuminated by the rising sun. I could no longer remember what I was leaving behind. I could only hold in my mind the adventures to come.
When I left Chile, I wasn’t the same and the course of my life had forever changed. I chartered a new course—fresh with new perspective, sympathy, and understanding toward a different way of life. Now, I carry with me the memories and stories I gathered on my trip. As we read the end of Caroll’s tale, we remember that Alice awakes from her dream and shares her dreamed adventures with her sister. Reflecting on Alice’s imaginations, her sister “pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the aftertime, be herself a grown woman . . . and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland.” I hope that the stories in this issue encourage you to embark on various adventures and to experience new things. Try new recipes from this issue’s Four Corners of the Kitchen. Consider new travel destinations by reading our Getaways section. Understand new cultures and ideas in our Features articles. As you do, I hope that you don’t come back the same. Let these new experiences inspire in you an increased sympathy and understanding and a greater knowledge of the world around you. Let the places you visit, the people you meet, the culture you experience, the stories you hear—let them change you.
Stephanie Bahr Bentley Managing Editor
Snow is melting. Flowers are blooming. Birds are chirping. And roller coasters are racing. Spring is the perfect season to take a trip with family or friends to a theme park. If you’re not sure which park to choose, or even which parks are near you, take a look at some of the best lesser-known theme parks across the country.
Silverwood has four roller coasters as well as various other rides and attractions for all ages. The amusement park also contains a water park called Boulder Beach, which includes rides and activities everyone can enjoy. Splash down Avalanche Mountain in a raft or take a swim in Boulder Beach Bay to cool off on a warm spring day.
Knott’s Berry Farm, California
Instead of your typical trip to Disneyland, make a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm, located in Buena Park, California. The park features 10 roller coasters, with the largest being the GhostRider, one of the tallest and longest wooden roller coasters in the world. The park also contains various
Photo by Paulo Ordoveza
Many people don’t know about Silverwood, an inexpensive park located in northern Idaho, but it is perfect for those in the area who don’t want to travel far for a fun day in the sun. The park typically opens in May and holds various celebrations for Silverwood’s anniversary, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day.
Hersheypark in Pennsylvania attracts visitors year-round.
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ZooAmerica wildlife park, and more. Theme park enthusiast Mora Sweeny has visited theme parks across the country—including Disney World, Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, and King’s Dominion. However, Hersheypark remains her favorite—even after more than 20 visits. “What I love at Hersheypark is that the whole town revolves around the park,” Sweeny says. For example, Hershey’s Chocolate World is located right outside the main gate to the park, the park’s roads are brown, and Hershey Kiss–shaped lampposts line the streets, making the park a dream come true for chocoholics across the nation.
children’s rides, thrill rides, water rides, games, and live entertainment. If you visit the park in the spring, you can experience Knott’s Berry Bloom, a spring celebration that features fun activities, delicious food, and a Spring Fling Dance Party. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity, not to mention the beautiful weather at this time of the year.
Photo by Dirk-Jan Kraan
Looking for a “sweet” theme park? Hersheypark features more than 65 rides and attractions, including 12 roller coasters and more than 20 kiddie rides. The accompanying water park, called the Boardwalk at Hersheypark, features 14 water attractions. In addition, you won’t want to miss Springtime in the Park, an event in April that includes live entertainment, entrance into the
Busch Gardens, Virginia
You don’t need to travel all the way to Europe to experience its culture. You can visit the beautiful Busch
Gardens to get a tour of nine villages in six European countries, including France, Scotland, and Germany. You can also spot Irish dancing and taste foods from the various countries. The food is “nice because it [is] quality food, not amusement park food,” says Sweeny, who has visited the park four times. Sweeny’s favorite ride is Apollo’s Chariot, one of the five roller coasters in the park. Busch Gardens also has multiple rides for kids, and it hosts special events throughout the year, such as the Food and Wine Festival, Howl-O-Scream, and Christmas Town. In addition, Busch Gardens has been voted the world’s most beautiful theme park for the past 23 years. This park offers remarkable rides, food, and scenery, making it the perfect place to spend a spring afternoon with the family.
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Getaways The Portland Japanese Garden features many beautiful plants, such as the Japanese maple tree.
A Garden Getaway: A Look into Portland’s Gardens
Portland’s botanical gardens are the perfect place for nature lovers to relax and discover one of the world’s greenest places.
Feel the Rhythm: Discovering the Heartbeat of Jamaica
Find your own rhythm and experience the unique adventures Jamaica has to offer.
Paradise Found: The Islands of Indonesia
The exotic and pristine islands of Indonesia are easy to enjoy and hard to leave.
Photo by Jeremy Reding
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A Garden Getaway A Look into Portland’s Gardens Still trying to decide where to travel this spring? Portland, Oregon, is the perfect place for an outdoors-inspired weekend getaway. And while Portland might be known for its unique personality, the city’s gardens are known worldwide for their charm and cultural diversity. Experience new cultures and beauties in Portland’s various parks and gardens.
Portland’s International Rose Test Garden, created to be a testing ground for new varieties of roses, is the oldest official garden of its kind in the United States. The garden houses over 8,000 rose bushes and 600 varieties of roses. The 4.5-acre garden is open to the public year-round, but most roses are in bloom from April through October. The park overlooks the city and provides plenty for visitors to see. FREE
Hoyt Arboretum is Portland’s museum of living trees. With over 1,400 species of trees and 12 miles of trails, visitors can walk along various
paths and see the expansive collection of nature’s giants. Pick up a map at the visitor’s center to chart your own nature walk, or join a guided tour. As you view the beauty, you’ll understand why the Hoyt Arboretum staff describe the arboretum as “a promise to future generations.” FREE
Portland Japanese Garden The Japanese Garden reflects Japanese history and culture in a serene setting. The 5.5-acre garden encompasses various types of plants and garden features. Elements of the garden reflect Japan’s past and present. The Moon Bridge over the pond and the bamboo gate leading to the tea garden compose what is considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside the Empire of the
Portland is one of the wettest US
cities, but don’t let that deter your
travels. Be prepared for the rain, no matter when you travel.
Preparing for Portland Weather 12 ▶ spring 2015
Closed-Toe Shoes It’s never fun to have wet feet, so bring waterproof shoes and an extra pair of socks.
Sun. Authentic culture and art exhibitions, garden lectures and events, and guided tours are also frequently available. Marketing director Lisa Christy says, “Regardless of who you are, where you come from, or your background, the Japanese Gardens speaks to you in a personal way. No matter the expectations, you’ll get a really great experience.” ADULT TICKET $9.50 Whether your travels are for rest and relaxation or for discovering new locations and cultures, Portland is the ideal city for experiencing spring. Walk around these nature reserves, look out over the city and mountains, and witness the beauty and wonder of Portland.
—Stephanie Bahr Bentley
Rain Jacket Carry a light rain jacket with a hood. Even though spring weather isn’t too chilly, rainfall is common. Umbrella The rain is unpredictable, so don’t be caught without an umbrella.
Photo by R. Alescio
International Rose Test Garden
Bridge and landscape of the Portland Japanese Garden.
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Feel the Rhythm
Discovering the Heartbeat of Jamaica
A native of St. Captain, Jamaica, Drecketts laughs easily and goes with the flow. Most people cannot help but feel the same way when they visit the wide, noisy streets of Kingston or the pristine beaches of Montego Bay. Reggae music and a Caribbean breeze mix with the smell of jungle and frying fish as people call out to each other on the streets. Everyone lives to their own beat in Jamaica. When most people imagine vacationing in Jamaica, they envision beautiful beaches—and for good reason. Jamaica’s white shores and
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gorgeous underwater scenery are as sun drenched, varied, and happy-golucky as the locals. But if you’re looking for Jamaica’s chill attitude, not just a beautiful beach, start exploring and you’ll discover that there’s a lot more than just salt water and sand.
Climb the Falls Locals and tourists alike find reasons to wander inland—leaving the crystalclear Caribbean sea behind them—to relax in Dunn’s River Falls. A natural staircase, the waterfall cascades down
outcroppings of rock, roaring to the river below in the thick, steaming jungle of Ocho Rios. You might enjoy hiking the falls, which are an easy climb if you can find the rough, stable rocks with your toes. “Climb it barefoot,” Drecketts advises, “barefoot like the beach. Hiking Dunn’s Falls is like letting a liquid mountain fall on you.”
Fruit and Fish Jamaica’s national dish, a combination of ackee (a fruit originating in East Africa) and fresh salt cod, is
Photo by Tomash Devenishek
“The official motto of Jamaica is ‘Out of many, one people,’” Lori-Ann Drecketts says, “and it is a nice saying, but it doesn’t capture real Jamaica. You want real? Then you say, ‘No problem, mon.’ If you are going to Jamaica, get that into your heart.”
grilled with onions, tomatoes, and lots of spice—and then served with rice or dumplings. “Ackee,” says Drecketts, “is for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is spice in Jamaican food, the way food is supposed to be.” When you try ackee and salt fish, you’ll find the taste of Jamaica.
will leave you feeling, as Bob Marley would say, like “every little thing is gonna be all right.” Full of flavor and passion, laughter and ease, Jamaica invites you to
discover life through its rhythm, and if you stay for a while, you’ll say it right back: “No problem, mon.”
Photo courtesy of Ricymar Photography
Wake Up and Live Jamaica’s music is a lot like its culture: easygoing. Reggae, child of the Jamaican 1960s, is part calypso, part jazz, part African, part R&B, and part everything else. The bass of a good reggae tune is the heartbeat of Jamaica. Jamaican and international reggae artists congregate once a year for an enormous music festival called SumFest. Join thousands of people from around the world to dance on the beach, sing, and—as Bob Marley, father of reggae, recommended— “wake up and live.” The beauty of Jamaica’s beaches, jungles, and waterfalls; the flavor of its food; and the music of its soul
Ocho Rios, near Dunn’s River Falls, is a hot spot for Caribbean vacationers.
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Paradise Found The Islands of Indonesia
We’ll be impressed if you know this one: Which country is home to 18,307 islands, every major religion, hundreds of languages, and more than 250 million people?
Indonesia’s diversity, beauty, and uniqueness make it a virtual guarantee that the only thing you’ll dislike about the country is leaving. Choosing from more than 18,000 islands can be overwhelming, so start with Sumatra, Java, and Bali—three of Indonesia’s most popular islands.
Sumatra Sumatra is an idyllic, untouched island paradise. You’ll find the island covered in jungles, coffee plantations,
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and the Barisan mountain range. Isolated beaches border the island, and though once devastated by the enormous 2004 tsunami, they are again a peaceful location from which to view the Indian Ocean. If you’re an intrepid adventurer, you’ll enjoy the jungle of Bukit Lawang, which showcases Indonesia’s famous orangutans. Or visit the Kerinci Seblat National Park, where, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch glimpses of Sumatran rhinos and tigers. After taking a ride on an elephant, you might not want to explore anywhere else.
Java Southeast of Sumatra and a short boat ride away, you’ll discover Java, the capital island of Indonesia. Try Java’s breathtaking Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, which surrounds Mount Bromo—an active volcano you can hike with a guide for about $6. The volcano is surrounded by Java’s famous Sea of Sand (an enormous perimeter of volcanic ash) and provides a gorgeous view at sunrise. Also journey to Java’s Borobudur and Prambanan, two large Buddhist temples that are now UNESCO
Photo by Björn Lauer
World Heritage sites. The temples date from around 920 BC and are surrounded by jungles. Then take a trip to Jakarta, Java’s capital city, home to the most delicious street food in the world. Sample a plate of nasi goreng, a traditional dish of fried rice, vegetables, chilies, and sweet soy sauce—it costs just over 50 cents and will make leaving Indonesia all the more difficult.
Previous page: Indonesia’s beauty is breathtaking. Above and below: Balinese festival costumes and stacks of carpet capture the rich colors of Indonesia.
Paradise Discovered Flavorful, exotic, and pristine, Indonesia is truly not to be forgotten. Its diversity, people, landscapes, and aura make it one of the most
rejuvenating places in the world. Discovering Indonesia and learning its secrets will make leaving almost impossible—but that’s all the more reason to go.
Top: photo by John Y. Can; Bottom: photo by Sara Marlowe
Not to be forgotten is Bali. Nick named Island of the Gods for good reason, Bali will take your breath away with its lush mountains, rugged coastlines, monkey-filled jungles, and white beaches that guard fantastic surfing stretches and snorkeling coves. Indonesia’s biodiversity is best seen in Bali’s clear waters: if you snorkel or scuba dive, you might see sharks, enormous manta rays, sea turtles, tuna, and thousands of other species of fish. Bali is also a magnet for those seeking spiritual enlightenment. Balinese Hinduism has a unique artistic history of dance and music. You’ll enjoy the Pura Besakih Hindu temple and Balinese dancing in Ubud, the center of Indonesia’s artistic culture.
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Explore. Dream. Discover. Online. Now you can explore past issues of Stowaway by visiting stowawaymag.com.
Features The Saturn V launch was attended by hundreds of people interested in science, exploration, and expansion.
A History toward Happiness
Science Tourism around the Globe
The Best of Berlin
Dealing with Travel Crises
Learn why the city of Mar del Plata is so happy despite its difficult history.
Discover and learn with the world’s most educational destinations.
Explore Berlin and find Germany’s passion for freedom.
Photo by Steve Jurvetson
Survive and thrive even in dangerous situations abroad.
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A History toward
by Stephanie Bahr Bentley
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Despite a difficult past, Mar del Plata, Argentina, has blossomed into a thriving tourist destination.
Jaquelina Joglar was born and raised in Mar del Plata, Argentina, but for her, every day she sees the world with new eyes—eyes that glance to the past, marvel in the moment, and gaze toward Argentina’s future. Argentina’s history, coupled with the sight and sound of the ocean waves hitting the city’s shores, provide travelers with an understanding of what makes Mar del Plata the Ciudad Feliz (Happy City). But happy wasn’t always the word to describe the city.
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A History of Unrest When Argentina declared its independence from Spain in 1816, the country looked forward to a future of independent national prosperity. The military leaders were immortalized in the names of city plazas and streets. But since the nation’s claim to liberty, the Argentine people have struggled politically and economically to live up to their revolutionary dreams. Though Argentina was officially established as a republic in 1943,
dissatisfied army officers overthrew the government and established a military dictatorship, sparking a long series of military leaders and upheavals. Since 1943, the country has been led by over 15 military dictators and elected presidents, many of whom have been forced from power by military coups and other political crises. Riots, strikes, and public demonstrations are documented each year in newspaper headlines and history books.
Previous page: photo by Federico Aubone; Left: photo by Jaquelina Joglar; Right: photo by Mista Stagga Lee
Despite its history of political turmoil and economic crises, Argentina shows that happiness exists and, as the people say, that happiness is embodied in Argentina’s beach-bordered city Mar del Plata.
The years from 1975 to 1983 marked the Dirty War, a period that will never be forgotten in Argentina’s history. Tens of thousands of people disappeared, their bodies never found. Records reveal that one common punishment was to board citizens on a plane and then drop them in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Jaquelina’s mother, Mónica Jaquelina Aves de Joglar, lived through much of this turmoil. “It was common for military or police groups to enter homes at night and take people captive who were considered revolutionary—many of them were never seen again,” says Mónica.
“It was an era of fear and much caution.” commonplace throughout Argentina’s provinces. “Now, after everything that has happened—thanks to those important people—our country is a free and democratic country, with many faculties like free education and other benefits,” Jaquelina says. “I feel happy to be in a country like that, and that’s
thanks to our history. More than anything, the history affects me now because it is a country with many opportunities for work and university study.” Modern Argentina is not only a land of work and study opportunities but also home to one of the most tourist-friendly cities in the world.
Turmoil in Mar del Plata Tragic times in Argentina were widespread, even reaching Mónica’s hometown of Mar del Plata. One of these times came to be known as the Noche de los Lápices (Night of the Pencils), when the military kidnapped, tortured, raped, and murdered young students. Another was the Noche de las Corbatas (Night of the Ties), when the military kidnapped lawyers and their families. “It was an era of fear and much caution,” Mónica says. The political and social turmoil caused an economic crisis—a crisis that remains today. A nearly collapsed economy, billions of dollars of debt, and an unquenchable unemployment rate all mark Argentina’s past.
The Past Remembered While struggles still persist, daily life continues. For Jaquelina and her family, life is happy in Mar del Plata, but they don’t forget the past:“The history of Argentina forms part of each day because the people from history are named on the streets.” Names like San Martín, an Argentine general who fought for independence, are An empty train station reminds Mar del Plata of its chilling past.
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La Ciudad Feliz
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Both historical and beautiful, Mar del Plata has become a memorable place to visit.
at the beach. Mar del Plata’s beaches offer fun during the day, while centro (downtown) offers entertainment at night. “It’s a safe, fun place,” Rob says. While he cautions that travelers should be careful, he says that “overall, the people are very friendly, as in most parts of Argentina, but especially in Mar del Plata.” The beach isn’t the only thing that defines Mar del Plata. Eating is also a large part of the experience.
The City’s Appeal “The food in Mar del Plata is delicious,” says Jaquelina. Argentine bakeries scattered throughout the world prove her point. Panchos, milanesas, empanadas, facturas, medialunas—the food is unique and delightful. While visiting Mar del Plata, travelers don’t ever pass up the alfajores (chocolate pastries) or the traditional drink mate either. When any treats remain, travelers share them with the sea lions. Sea lions, ranging in size from 7 to 10 feet long, are frequently seen throughout the various beaches. “They walk wherever they want, with people passing by around them,” says Jaquelina. Their prevalence along the port and beaches makes the animal a symbol for the city. In fact, two giant sea lion statues were constructed to adorn the city center. Mar del Plata’s port is another element that contributes to the cultural aspect of the city. Events and activities coincide with the port and
Top: photo by Eduardo Tapia; Bottom: photo by Jaquelina Joglar
“Mar del Plata, the city, revolves around tourism, so there’s an infinite number of places to visit and events to see,” Jaquelina says. “The city is surrounded by the sea—it’s purely beach—and there are plazas, theaters, and restaurants. So many things are available to do and to see that make Mar del Plata great for vacationing. For this reason, in Argentina my city is known as La Feliz or La Ciudad Feliz.” Jaquelina adds that from April to July, Argentina’s fall season, “the city looks precious because in Mar del Plata, the plazas and city center are filled with trees and benches to sit down and enjoy the beautiful afternoons.” Because of the area’s climate, there’s never snow and the beaches are always enjoyable. “In fall, winter, or whenever, tourists still go to the beach,” says Jaquelina. Rob Mahi, a frequent world traveler, agrees. Rob traveled to Mar del Plata in February 2012, and during his visit, he spent a lot of time
“It’s an incredible and unique experience to see the sun rise above the Atlantic Ocean.” the work done there. The port is well known, and the city’s bright orange boats can be spotted from anywhere along the shore.
Mar del Plata for Everyone
the ocean], I can see the whole sea. It gets me thinking about the marvels of the ocean and everything. It’s like it’s the only place in the city where I find peace,” she says. Jaquelina, like many others, needs that peace. People preoccupied with work, school, and everyday life find peace in Mar del Plata. Even with the busy crowds, the city’s coastlines and centro offer travelers a break from life, inviting them to experience the culture and peace that Argentina can offer.
Photo by Fabian
Jaquelina, like all those who visit Mar del Plata, enjoys the city because there are always fun things to do, whether it be plays, movies, or other entertaining attractions. Mónica adds, “It’s a city for all ages
to enjoy—and it’s an incredible and unique experience to see the sun rise above the Atlantic Ocean.” With the struggles that defined much of Argentina’s history, Mar del Plata, or the Ciudad Feliz, is a showcase of the beauty and enjoyment of traveling in Argentina. In Mar del Plata, tourists visit during every season of the year. Even though Jaquelina isn’t a tourist, she still appreciates the beauty of the city. “When I walk down the escollera [a jetty made of rocks that extends into
Orange boats are a distinctive element of Mar del Plata’s ports and show the brightness of the city and people.
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liss Lar s
T und ou the rism Gl
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Astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” That’s why so many people travel—to discover, to learn, to explore. And many organizations around the world are dedicated to doing just that: discovering the expanses of space, learning about the latest research as well as historical innovations, and exploring the workings of the human mind. Visiting science-related organizations as part of your travels is both exciting and educational. Here are some places you might want to include on your must-visit list.
(San Francisco, California) Engage your brain and enjoy a fun vacation at the Exploratorium. This dynamic science museum, with a sleek new location in the marina district of San Francisco, provides quality learning and exploration opportunities for all ages. Founded in 1969 by a passionate physicist and educator named Frank Oppenheimer, the Exploratorium’s mission is to provide hands-on exhibits and activities related to art and science. To achieve that goal, the Exploratorium employs around 400 scientists, artists, educators, writers, and designers who are intent on treating the senses and engaging the minds of visitors. The museum includes galleries that guide interactive learning. At the Tinkering Studio, “think with your hands” as you literally build your understanding of the world around you. Investigate the human psyche in the Human Phenomena gallery, and explore ecosystems in the Living Systems gallery. In the Seeing and Listening gallery, you’ll learn about light, vision, sound, hearing, motion, and spatial perception. And don’t miss the Bay Observatory gallery, where you’ll interact with San Francisco’s landscape, or the Outdoor Gallery, where you can observe natural forces at work in the surrounding world. If that’s not enough, the museum even hosts Thursday After Dark events, where adults can mingle, eat, and learn. Check the museum’s
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Opening spread: photo by Chris Beckett; Top left: photo by Chris Chabot; Bottom left: photo by Christopher Carfi; Top right: photo by Aanjhan Ranganathan; Bottom right: photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
website (exploratorium.edu) to see what’s coming up.
(Monte Carlo, Monaco) If you’re traveling to Europe, you won’t want to miss one of the trendiest locations: the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco (OMM), known for its incredible variety of sea life and its gorgeous location. This imposing architectural beauty, also known as the Temple of the Sea, is built on the Rock of Monaco, a sheer cliff nearly 300 feet above the Mediterranean Sea. The building’s towering façade is adorned with arched windows, through which you’ll see a stunning ocean vista. The OMM is both an artistic beauty and an engineering masterpiece, keeping true to the vision of founder Prince Albert I. He also believed in combining art and science by supplementing the ocean’s natural beauty with exhibitions by worldfamous artists. This unique museum furthers its mission to protect the oceans of the world through education and political action.
The museum is home to over 6,000 marine specimens living in approximately 100 pools of varying sizes—some the size of your dentist office’s waiting room, some holding almost 119,000 gallons of water. The pools are filled with several thousand fish species, 200 species of invertebrates, and 100 species of hard and soft coral. As you walk through corridors with floor-to-ceiling tanks, you’ll feel like you’re in the ocean. Adding to the phenomenon of submersion, the OMM is one of the Previous page: At the Explor atorium, experience the world around you by wandering through interactive exhibits. This page: The classic façade of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco overlooks the Mediterranean. The museum is not just an architectural beauty but also an impressive display of marine wildlife.
few places in Europe where you can be immersed—almost literally—in the oceans of the world via Google’s Liquid Galaxy. Looking at the widescreen projections, you’ll feel as if you were actually swimming across the bottom of the ocean floor, surrounded as far as the eye can see by colorful marine wildlife. If you’re interested in a guided tour of the OMM, reserve your spot via phone, email, or online about a month in advance. All the details are available at oceano.mc.
Brunelleschi’s Dome and the Museo Galileo (Florence, Italy)
While you’re in Italy, stop in Florence and discover the marvel of the famous Brunelleschi’s Dome, or Il Duomo, as the Florentines call it. When construction was underway on the massive Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in the 13th century, the clergy wanted to top it with a dome of unprecedented size. But architects and builders didn’t know how to construct a dome approximately 150 feet wide that wouldn’t collapse during construction. And until they figured it out, they had a massive hole in the cathedral’s ceiling.
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Arecibo Observatory (Arecibo, Puerto Rico)
Say hello to the world’s largest singledish radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The 20-acre observatory, completed in 1963, was the brainchild of Professor William E. Gordon of Cornell University. Gordon’s original idea was to use the telescope to study the ionosphere, but now one of the observatory’s functions is to monitor asteroid activity close to the earth. Because radio signals are not affected by weather or time of day, this telescope functions 24/7. The observatory’s claim to fame is
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that in 1974, staff sent a SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) message into outer space, aimed at a galaxy 21,000 light-years away. Of course, none of us will be alive when it arrives in the galaxy, let alone be around for a potential return transmission, but the message was nevertheless an example of humankind asking the persisting question, “Are we alone in the universe?” To learn more about the telescope and the observatory during your visit, pop into the Angel Ramos Foundation Visitor Center. Through several hands-on exhibits, you can learn about basic astronomy, atmospheric science, the electromagnetic spectrum, the Doppler effect, the workings of the radio telescope, spectroscopy, and methods for studying the atmosphere. The visitor center also hosts a meteorite collection, planetary orrery, aerial map of Puerto Rico, pulsar model, cloud machine, and interactive model of the Arecibo telescope. And check out the video “A Day in the Life of the Arecibo Observatory” to get a feel for what happens daily at the observatory and how everyone, from the kitchen staff to telescope operators to visiting scientists, plays a part in the observatory’s success. No doubt, if you look to the stars for answers, the Arecibo Conservatory and its accompanying visitor center are a great place to continue the search. Visit naic.edu for details.
Johnson Space Center (Houston, Texas)
It almost goes without saying that visiting a NASA location is a must for any traveler interested in exploring the mysteries of the galaxy. Before you even enter the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the fullscale space shuttle replica will surely leave you starstruck—it stretches 122.7 feet long and 54 feet high. Ever since the replica’s arrival in 2012, it
Top: photo by Roy Luck; Middle: photo by Massimiliano Calamelli (photo flipped); Bottom: photo by Toni Almodovár Escuder
In the clergy’s desperation to finish their roofless cathedral, in 1419 they created a contest for architects and designers to draft a solution. That’s where goldsmith Filippo Brunelleschi stepped in: he came up with a way to build the dome so that it would support itself during its progress—with an inner and outer dome supported by massive brick arches. He even created a special bricklaying pattern that helped support the domes. The dome was miraculous for its time, and 600 years later the cathedral is still the tallest building in Florence! After visiting the cathedral, zip over to the Museo Galileo, only a 10-minute walk from Il Duomo. Located in the Palazzo Castellani building, erected in the 11th century, the Museo Galileo holds many of its namesake’s original instruments as well as scientific artifacts from the Medici and Lorraine families. Enjoy exhibits about astronomy, meteorology, cartography, maritime, military, and mathematics. To learn more about the museum’s exhibits and to plan your trip, visit museogalileo.it. You can also view a fascinating video explanation of Brunelleschi’s dome, produced by National Geographic, at youtube.com/watch?v= _IOPlGPQPuM.
has been one of the most popular attractions at the space center. If you can tear yourself away, head inside to see real space capsules, rockets, moon rocks, and other spacerelated artifacts that NASA has used or collected over the years. Tour the historic mission control center—as seen in the movie Apollo 13—and the new control center by going on the Level 9 Tour. You can also view how astronauts train in a simulated flight laboratory at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory and try out the space-walk simulator for yourself. Once you’ve got your moonwalk down, watch the presentation “Living in Space” to learn how astronauts in the International Space Station deal with zero gravity, which makes even the simplest tasks very complex. If you’re ready to take a break, kick back and watch a documentary in one of three theaters. Hungry?
Go on a Friday and each lunch with astronauts, who will share their tales from outer space. Then explore the Astronaut Gallery, an impressive collection of spacesuits that will make you feel like you’ve boarded a shuttle. No matter how you choose to spend your time at the Johnson Space Center, you’ll leave feeling like you’ve just taken one giant leap into outer space yourself. To find out more about the center, including special events, visit spacecenter.org.
Explore, Discover, Learn If you like searching the unknown for incredible things to be known, visiting these locations—and others—is a great place to start. And you may find that in exploring and discovering, you learn more about yourself as well.
Top: photo courtesy of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center; Bottom: photo by Kevin Baird
Previous page: The Brunelleschi Dome has been the tallest building in Florence for 600 years. Be sure to stop in the nearby Museo Galileo to see artifacts from Galileo himself. This page: In 1974, the Arecibo telescope sent a message to a galaxy 21,000 light-years away, an effort to answer humankind’s question “Are we alone in the universe?”
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The Best of Berlin “What’s your favorite city in Europe?” That was the question I asked almost every local I came in contact with while traveling around Europe. And I kept getting the same answer: Berlin. The funny thing was most couldn’t really explain why they loved the city.
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So I set off for Berlin, determined to figure out what made it so special. I launched myself like a juggernaut all over the city, riffling through museums, sizing up graffiti, and experiencing the city’s famous Turkish kebab for myself. But nothing I saw or experienced quite explained Berlin’s attraction. My last night in Berlin, I watched a movie being projected on a sleek modern building downtown. The film, a documentary about the Berlin Wall, showed footage of a crowd chanting and cheering as bulldozers tore down
the hunk of cement that had divided the city for so long. I looked over and realized tears were streaming down my friend’s face. Suddenly I understood what drew people to the city: Berlin is free. The city has the feeling of a bird let out of its cage, finally free to soar. Berliners knew oppression, knew what it felt like for their homes and families to be torn apart. They’d seen severe restrictions and brutality as people died trying to escape from East Berlin to West Berlin. When the wall was torn down, the city reveled
Photo by Werner Kunz
By Kate Zeller
in freedom—and has done so ever since. Berliners are still riding that wave of emotion—the feeling of freedom—more than 25 years later. And the feeling is contagious. No wonder everyone loves Berlin. To experience for yourself the freedom rippling through the bustling city of Berlin, include the following locations during your visit. By the time you leave, you’ll likely have joined the ranks of Berlin-lovers around the world.
Top: photo by Hans-Jörg Aleff; Middle: photo by Alex.Ch; Bottom: photo by Nico Trinkhaus
Few places in Berlin are bursting with more of the free-at-last feeling than Checkpoint Charlie, the best-known border crossing along the Berlin Wall. (Though the original checkpoint was torn down, a replica stands in the original spot.) The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 to divide Soviet-controlled East Berlin from Allied-controlled West Berlin, and Checkpoint Charlie became notorious for the number of Berliners who attempted to illegally cross the border to freedom—even though Soviet guards had orders to shoot any man, woman, or child trying to do so. Stories of some of the many people who escaped East Berlin at or around this checkpoint can be found on the open-air display across the street and at the museum next door. Some people hid in trunks or secret compartments of cars, while others just ran for it, both in broad daylight and in the dead of night. As you read the stories, you’ll likely feel the thrill of freedom that must have coursed through those who escaped. You’ll experience this same feeling reading the exhibit’s old newspaper Previous page: The angel on top of the Berlin Victory Column. Top: A man at the Berlin Wall Memorial. Middle: Visitors examining the Pergamon Altar at the Pergamon Museum. Bottom: The Bode Museum on Museum Island.
East Side Gallery
Though the majority of the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, you can still feel a thrill walking across the brick line zig-zagging through the city, marking where the infamous wall once stood. To see the one remaining portion of the wall, visit the East Side Gallery. Every inch of the what’s left of the wall is covered in spray-painted representations of freedom from oppression. To show government support of the newfound freedom, German officials flew in graffiti artists from all over the world to contribute to the artistic celebration. As you stroll through the East Side Gallery, the longest open-air gallery in
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the world, you’re bound to feel a fresh sense of freedom yourself. But don’t stop just yet. There’s more art—and liberty—to explore in Berlin beyond that of the graffiti style.
Freedom for Art
Under Hitler’s rule, art lived a tough life, often labeled degenerate. (And the artist involved often faced imprisonment or persecution.) Art didn’t fare much better once the Soviet Union was established. Leaders viewed art as a weapon, and thus art was to be used only by those who would promote the government’s agenda. Even a hint of criticism or un-Soviet ideals could land artists in labor camps. But in the new climate of freedom after the collapse of the Soviet Union, museums blossomed in Berlin. In fact, the city now has over 180 museums and 400 art galleries. Museum Island is a must-see. Located on the Spree River, Museum Island is home to five of the most famous museums in Berlin. In the Altes Museum, the birth of democracy is highlighted in the impressive
Photo by Kate Zeller
headlines that shout to the world the joy of those who managed to make it across through a combination of cunning, bravery, and unbelievable luck. You’ll also learn about the tragic tales of many who were not so lucky. Though a solemn reminder of the past, preserving the stories of victims reminds Berliners and visitors alike that freedom is not always free.
collection of Roman and Greek classical antiquities. If you step inside the Alte Nationalgalerie, which was built in the style of an ancient temple, you’ll find a concentration of masterpieces from the 19th century. The Neues Museum is an absolute must because it displays one of the most famous artifacts on the island: the ancient Egyptian bust of Queen Nefertiti. Also of interest is the Bode Museum, where you’ll get your fill of Byzantine and Numismatic art. Whatever you do, don’t forget the Pergamon. This museum is not only the most visited museum on Museum Island but also the most popular museum in Berlin. The name Pergamon comes from the massive Pergamon Altar of Zeus, which was transported to the museum after being discovered in the ancient city of Pergamon (in modern-day Turkey). The altar is covered with friezes similar to those of the Parthenon in Athens, many depicting Greek gods locked in legendary battles. Another Berlin museum to add to your list is the Natural History Museum, which is home to the largest dinosaur skeleton on display in the world—an astounding 45 feet tall. Then there’s also the Berlin Magic Museum, if you’re in the mood for some fun. The Jewish Museum is a masterpiece of experimental architecture. Instead of being shocked by a collection of harrowing artifacts from the Holocaust, you are more likely to leave with memories of your experience in the museum because of its striking architecture. The entire museum is built in an asymmetrical zigzag shape, and as you wind your way through the exhibits, there’s no way to be exactly sure where you are in the museum or what’s coming next. The architect, Daniel Libeskind, said of his design, “What is important is the experience you get from it. The interpretation is open.” The focus of the museum, however, is on the beauty
of Jewish culture and history and the Jews’ struggle to find a place in the modern world. You’ll learn about the Jews’ long fight for equal rights, which finally led to freedom from restraint and stigma, although at a brutal price.
Photo by Daniel Mennerich
Eating in Berlin
Any real travel expert will tell you that to experience a culture, you have to try the food. Eating in Berlin, however, is more about the experience than about the food. Max Kellner, a native Berliner, says the mix of cultures is comparable to that in New York, and you can find food from all over the world. Every kind of food and all kinds of people are welcome. One of the most common ethnic foods you’ll see is doner kebab, a
gyro-like meal most often made with lamb or chicken. Turkish kebab in particular has flourished because of the large number of Turks living in the city. For an especially good kebab, Kellner recommends trying the restaurant Mustafas Gemuese Kebab, located in the Kreuzberg area. However, be prepared to stand in line, because even the locals love the eatery’s special kebabs, which include ingredients such as feta cheese, lemon, and even french fries. Another must-try food is currywurst, a savory sausage covered in a mouthwatering curry sauce and often served with bread. You can find the dish almost anywhere, but Kellner recommends Curry36. “As a Berlin guy, I would say it is really the best you can get.”
The wide range of variety in food choices reflects the Berliner’s willingness to try new things—sometimes simply because they are free to. And in Berlin, freedom tastes absolutely delicious.
Feel the Freedom
Whatever you decide to do in Berlin, search out that feeling of freedom. Although many of the people I talked to couldn’t put their finger on what made Berlin special, they loved it just the same. So take a walk through Berlin and see if the celebratory spirit of the city awakens anything in you. You’ll fall in love with this unique corner of Europe. Previous page: Map of Berlin marking the path where the Berlin Wall used to stand. Below: The Altes Museum.
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Dealing with Travel Crises By Ellice Tan
www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 37
“When we got on the plane, everything was fine. While we were in the air, the Friday prayers let out. And by the time we touched down, the city was filled with smoke and fire.” what can you do to prepare before disaster strikes?
Predeparture Preparation Register with the Embassy Before you head for the airport, register with your country’s embassy so that representatives of your country will know where you are and how to contact you while you’re abroad. If embassy representatives learn that a crisis is imminent, they’ll send you travel alerts. If an emergency occurs, they’ll try to locate you to determine whether you’re safe. Your embassy can also provide you with food, shelter, and assistance getting home. Even if the crisis is of a personal nature, your embassy can
help. If you live in the United States, you can register with a US embassy at travelregistration.state.gov.
Develop a Contingency Plan Another important step to take before your departure is to make a contingency plan so you’re prepared for any circumstance. Find out what your health insurance covers, and consider getting travel insurance if you’re traveling internationally. Make sure to fill out the emergency information page of your passport. Additionally, make copies of your essential documents and back them up electronically. Ensure you have the contact information for your travel agent, your insurance company, and the hotels you’ll be staying at. Give this information and copies of essential Previous page: photo by Wilson Hui; Left: photo by Bob Henson
Tom Taylor and his wife, Katy, were headed to Cairo, Egypt, for spring break. But the timing was far from ideal: they arrived one day after the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. “Everything in the area was total chaos; people were flooding in from the city, mostly Westerners. . . . The army put a cordon around the airport, so we saw tanks and large trucks filled with military folks. . . . And we were told that we wouldn’t be allowed to leave the airport premises. We didn’t know what was going on.” The Taylors are not unique in their travel experiences. Overseas emergencies include anything from political unrest and natural disasters to contracting an illness or falling victim to a crime—and they can happen to anyone. So what do you do if you encounter a travel crisis? And
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documents to someone at home who could initiate help for you during an emergency.
Know the Territory
Prepare for your trip by researching your destination. As world-traveler Travis Orton says, knowing “what’s going on . . . will help you make better-informed decisions.” So learn about your destination’s culture, customs, and laws, as well as whether the area is prone to natural disasters during the time you plan to travel. Also check on the political climate. A great source of information is the US Department of State, which provides warnings about areas prone to political unrest, offers travel alerts, and gives other helpful facts about locations around the world. To get an insider’s view, read blog and social media posts from travelers currently in the locale you’ll be traveling to.
Top: photo by Taro Taylor; Bottom: photo by Scott Whiting
Make Friends with the Locals
You can also prepare by talking with someone who lives in or has traveled to your vacation destination. It’s especially helpful if the person knows the risks in the area and how to deal with them. Orton says having local contacts is critical to safe traveling: “If you make a friend or you have friends who have gone somewhere and made friends, see if you can get [the] contact information of these friends just in case. It’s always good to have some sort of contact . . . on the ground that knows what’s going on, that knows the culture, knows the people, has lived there, and knows how things work.” Sometimes knowing a local can save your life. When a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit the coastal city of Constitución, Chile, Stephanie Bentley learned the importance of having friends in the area. “Everybody in the city panicked. The power went out in the city—there was no power and there was no water. And you couldn’t get a
Mount Tavurvur explodes in Papua New Guinea.
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 39 Breezy Point, New York, after Hurricane Sandy.
Natural disasters often present an even more difficult situation than a riot or a bombing. In the days (and even weeks) following a natural disaster, there’s often no water, no power, and no food. Consequently, it’s vital to bring a few extra days’ worth of prescriptions, snacks, and water, in addition to emergency cash and warm clothes. “It’s easy to just have shorts and a t-shirt, but have at least a jacket and a blanket,” Bentley says. When the earthquake hit Constitución, “a lot of people just went into the forest and had to sleep outside. Even just having a blanket [can be] essential to survival.”
When Disaster Hits Contact a Family Member or Friend
When a crisis strikes, your first priority is to get to a safe location. Then, contact a family member or friend back home who can advocate for your safety. Learn how to make an international call from the city you’re visiting. During natural disasters, phone lines may not work, but you’ll likely be able to send texts. If possible, keep your cell phone charged. So that you won’t need to use your phone for light, carry a flashlight.
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Follow Instructions You’ll also increase your safety by taking travel alerts seriously and following the instructions provided. In serious situations, your embassy may recommend that you evacuate the country. If commercial transportation isn’t available, the embassy will assist you in getting to the nearest safe location. Since you’ll be responsible for travel costs, be familiar with the options, including your airline’s policy on flight changes.
Find Safety Airports tend to be madhouses during times of disaster; if you’re not able to get a flight out right away, don’t panic. Many buildings, especially hotels, are built to withstand disasters, so often, the safest place is inside your hotel. Don’t try to get involved; focus on finding a safe place to stay. Most of the time you won’t know all the details of the situation, and if you try to help, you may find yourself in an even more precarious situation. Once you are safe, put your name on the Red Cross’s Safe and Well list (safeandwell.communityos.org). After the Taylors spent a night in the airport (with little idea of what was going on), they were some of the first to the ticket counter. “Do you have any tickets out?” Tom Taylor asked the ticket agent. “Yes.” “Where?” “You have to tell us where you want to go,” the agent said. “Anywhere but here,” Tom replied, “Just start at the top of the list.” “Athens—” “That’s great. We’ll take two.” “Because we could see that there was turmoil, we got in line for the tickets early for an exit flight. Our friends who decided to ride it out were stuck in the airport for a week and a half. They were not allowed to leave the airport,” Tom said. Because they acted quickly and reconfirmed
their flight as soon as possible, the Taylors were able to avoid further disaster.
Remain Positive Above all, keep calm, remain positive, and expect the unexpected. The Taylors had a few hours before their flight, so after deciding they would be safe outside the airport, they found a local man willing to take them sightseeing. And with that, they headed to the pyramids. Of that brief trip out of the airport, Tom described the following: “There were . . . burning cars on the road; the main highway was rather desolate. The interesting thing was that at every overpass there were loads of young men gathered. From those locations they had a visual command of the city and could check troop movements. They could run down and join any fray that erupted or jump in their cars and disappear in moments. We could see smoke rising from many areas of the city, especially in the downtown area. The most unsettling [sight] was passing a group of women surrounding the body of a dead policeman near his burned-out car. . . . The pyramids will always have a lower emotional impact on me than the other sights that we saw that day.”
Keep Traveling Though Tom and Katy have experienced many travel crises, they continue to travel and to remain positive. Their recommendation for other travelers is to be willing to value experiences for what they are. “When you travel, go with the expectation that you’re going to learn a lot about yourself,” Tom says. “We plan the outer journey, but the inner journey is what really matters. . . . Be open to the experience that you’re having instead of focusing on having the experience that you thought you would have.”
Photo by Sharon Davis
hold of people on the phone because all the cell service was gone. . . . I didn’t know if there was going to be a tsunami and if I needed to get to higher ground or if I should go back to my apartment to get my stuff. . . . Luckily I knew somebody who took me with them to higher ground, and we waited out the night there.” Bentley’s biggest recommendation is to “make sure you always know somebody you can rely on or just get in contact with” in the area. If you cannot contact a friend or your embassy, locate local law enforcement officials or medical personnel.
www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 41 A cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, damaged by an earthquake.
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Culture Fresh limes are sold in food markets and add a burst of flavor to dishes from diverse cultures.
Kites on the Horizon
Seoul Power: Korean Culture in Television Drama
Kite games excite and uplift humanity.
One of Europe’s most misunderstood cultures comes into the light.
Experience Korea’s culture without leaving your couch.
Sacred Wonders of the World
Curbside Cuisine: Tasting Cultures in Food Markets
Sacred buildings around the world preserve culture and beauty.
Taste the world’s cultures in foreign destinations or in your own backyard.
Four Corners of the Kitchen: Limes
For an explosion of tangy lime flavor, try these recipes from Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, and Iran.
Photo by Jennifer
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 43
Kites on the Kite fighting, or gudiparan bazi, is a national craze in Afghanistan. During summer and fall, the sky is filled with artfully designed fighter kites. Successful kite flying requires two people—the charkha, who holds the string, and the driver, who steers the kite. The best fighters combine good teamwork and years of practice. A fight ends when one team manages to wrap its string around the opponent’s string and cut it, setting the kite loose. The fight can take anywhere from a few seconds to an hour, depending on the direction of the wind and the skill of the fighters. Many enjoy the challenge of maneuvering the kite in the air and attempting to cut their opponent’s kite line, but for others, especially children, the best part is running after the fallen kites and claiming them as their prize. Retrieving a kite is also an interesting—and oftentimes dangerous—adventure: runners must avoid obstacles like power lines, buildings, trees, and busy streets.
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“I loved running for the free kites as a kid,” Haidari says. “I remember spending every afternoon standing on the roof, waiting for free kites to come by. It wasn’t until I grew up that I decided to start flying them myself.” Eventually Haidari began learning how to make his own kites. Traditionally, they are made from a very thin paper and bamboo spars that can be nearly five feet long. The lines, designed specifically for cutting down the opponent’s kite, are made of cotton and coated with a mixture of crushed glass and rice glue. Many Afghans still use these materials, but traditional methods are gradually being replaced with synthetic materials that are easier to manufacture.
Worldwide Kite Flying Kite fighting is the oldest and most popular kite sport in the world. The sport is most commonly associated with Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent, but variations exist worldwide, including Korea’s pangp’aeyon
and Japan’s Rokkaku and Nagasaki hata. On the streets of Brazil and Chile, fighters fly papagaios and volantines. In recent years, kite fighting has also gained a following in the United States. In 1997, the North American Fighter Kite Association was founded in Tacoma, Washington. The organization started as a way for Americans interested in kite fighting to network, but today the organization connects members worldwide, including in France, Germany, and Australia. As kite fighting was becoming more popular throughout the world, Afghanistan suffered a devastating loss. In 1995, the Taliban proscribed kite fighting in Afghanistan. The skies remained empty until 2001, when the Taliban fell and the ban was lifted. “During the Taliban rule, there was not much anyone could do for fun,” Haidari says. “Kite fighting was our only sport [and because that was taken away,] . . . I can’t remember anything good from that time. People could only sit.”
Photo by Chris Thompson
It’s a late Friday afternoon in 1991. Mustafa Haidari stands on a rooftop in Kabul, Afghanistan, watching the horizon for loose kites. After several minutes, the young boy spots a colorful kite gliding on the wind to the north. Haidari, high on the thrill of the chase, carefully climbs down from the roof and breaks into a sprint toward his prize.
Horizon Photography courtesy of Meena Kadri
The Kite Runner
In 2007, Haidari was hired as a casting associate for the film The Kite Runner. For three months during the casting process, Haidari scouted for actors familiar with kite fighting. He then accompanied the actors to Kabul to take lessons from a kite master so the film could accurately represent kite fighting and its importance in Afghan culture. Working on the film repiqued Haidari’s interest in kites, and it’s something he carries with him—a reminder of home now that he’s living in California. Life has changed dramatically since those autumn days chasing kites in the streets of Kabul, but Haidari, like many of his friends who have left Afghanistan, stays connected to his roots through kite flying. “Now I fly kites to remember my past and to remind me of where I came from,” he says. Today, kites once again dot the skies of Afghanistan, just as they do in an increasing number of other countries. That means those who are interested in learning more—and even joining in the fun—can find many opportunities to do so, whether locally or abroad. ▶▶
Top: Kites in a stack ready to be sold at an Indian kite market. Bottom: A child with kites is looking forward to a kite festival in India.
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Who Are Gypsies?
The mystery surrounding Gypsies (or the Roma, as they refer to themselves) may come from the fact that the origins of this group were unclear until the 18th century. The Roma kept no written history of their migration, so their origin was unknown until modern linguists stepped in. Study of the Romani language revealed its close ties to Sanskrit and helped prove that the Roma came from somewhere in India, taking many years and
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borrowing words from many cultures before finally reaching Europe in the 14th century.
Historically, many Europeans thought the Roma were emigrants of Egypt, based on their exotic appearance (many Roma have dark hair and complexions). Hence, Europeans gave this traveling group the name of Gypsy, which is derived in part from the French word for Egyptian, égyptien. Before the two world wars, the Roma typically traveled in caravans and often made money trading horses and taking seasonal jobs during the harvest season. Their nomadic ways sparked mistrust and prejudice from local populations, often resulting in violence. Gypsies were considered a degenerate race and were targeted by the Nazis. They were killed in many of the same ways Jews were, causing a significant decrease in the size of the Roma population. “I find them genuinely a very gregarious people,” says Smith. “The resilience of their culture is something I admire. They’ve had attempts to either exterminate or deport or eradicate their culture in one way or another for centuries and they’re still around.”
Top: photo by Julie Kertesz; Bottom: photo by Adrian Magdici
“If you’re a traveler or a tourist in one of the major European cities,” says sociology professor Dr. David Smith, “you’ll likely come in contact with [Gypsies] that are in the city centers begging.” But there is so much more to Gypsies than begging. Smith teaches at the University of Greenwich and has been studying gypsy culture for almost a decade. He says that most people hold one of two stereotypes about Gypsies: seeing them as an exotic, mysterious traveling people with brightly colored wagons or viewing them as beggars who approach tourists in big cities. But neither stereotype captures this dynamic people today.
Gypsies The Modern
Photo by Eugene Luchinin
According to Smith, Gypsy is increasingly seen as a negative term, con tributing to the stereotypes about the Roma. “You’ve got prejudice and negative stereotypes on one hand, but on the other hand, you’ve also got this stereotype of them being Bohemian musicians and free. And these two stereotypes have coexisted.” Neither stereotype instills in people an accurate image of the Roma people. However, the future looks bright for the Roma. More and more groups advocating for Roma’s rights have sprung up all over Europe thanks to a technological ally: the Internet. An increasing number of Roma have been able to connect and organize, finding ways to deal with the serious issues they must face collectively to create change. Grassroots movements which help the Roma participate in politics and make their voices heard have grown in the last decade, especially in response to recent mass evictions in France, violent attacks on Roma camps in the Czech Republic, and forced segregation in Italy. Pope Francis made a historic move in June 2014 when he called individuals and world governments to repentance for their attitudes toward and their treatment of the Roma people.
“Gypsies can find in you brothers and sisters who love them with the same love that Christ had for the most marginalized,” said the Pope. “Gypsies are among the most vulnerable, especially when there is no support for the integration and promotion of the person in the various dimensions of civic life.” Increasing legislation and an awareness of Gypsy culture has Smith feeling optimistic. For example, in 2008 Great Britain established Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month, and communities are preparing to celebrate despite the recent loss of government funding. Films and
documentaries produced by Roma about the Roma are also giving the group a new face and an international presence. The Roma are a diverse, culturally rich group fighting for a respected position in the global community and struggling to escape cycles of abuse, modern slavery, and forced begging and stealing. “Don’t be afraid of the Roma,” Smith says. Stereotypes don’t represent the whole of Roma culture—a culture that has contributed greatly to the world.
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SEOUL POWER Korean Culture in Television Drama A Rising Trend
Interest in Korean culture has been increasing since K-pop burst onto the global media scene (think Korean pop star Psy and his gone-viral song “Gangnam Style”). However, that was just the beginning. The Koreanentertainment fad continues to gain steam, as evidenced by the thousands of people who are addicted to Korean TV dramas. With a mix of spectacle and insight into South Korean culture, these shows attract drama fans and cultural enthusiasts alike.
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The Culture beneath the Drama
Learning more about the K-drama fad (or joining it yourself) is a great way to experience Korean culture while waiting for the day when you can finally check a vacation to Seoul off your list. Popular dramas are made of standard soap opera fare—love triangles, deception, murder, seduction, and other shocking revelations and plot twists, but they also deal with important issues in Korea today.
For example, many popular K-dramas deal indirectly with the disparity between the rich and the poor. Other shows reveal tension between tradition and globalization. All of the shows reveal the way many Koreans wish they ate, talked to each other, and dressed. Because K-dramas try to appeal mostly to Korean audiences, the shows give outsiders an inside look into the way Koreans see themselves and Korea—all the more reason that K-dramas have become increasingly popular in other countries.
Photo by Han Joen
Enormous, intricately detailed Buddhist temples. Flavorful kimchi and ramen. Sweeping mountain ranges and quiet beaches. Deception and murder. You’ll experience it all through Korean dramas (K-dramas). These emotionally charged television shows contain not only intrigue but also a behind-the-scenes view of the extravagant beauty and captivating culture of South Korea. K-dramas are filling many world travelers with a curiosity and desire to experience Korean culture for themselves.
Boys over Flowers
One of the most popular K-drama series in Korea and America is Boys over Flowers. It’s a perfect example of soap opera spectacle intermixed with cultural insight. The cute and spunky but poor female protagonist, Geum Jan-di, wins a scholarship to attend an elite private school, where her rich classmates and their parents make clear their prejudice against her. Jan-di eventually learns to bridge the economic gap, making friends and falling in love with boys above her social station. Meanwhile, amnesia, lies, and cheating ex-boyfriends keep viewers coming back for more.
The Lingo and the Beat
While a great insight into Korean pop culture, the plot points and archetypes of K-dramas sometimes differ from their Western counterparts, making them a fascinating deviation and, occasionally, a perplexing pastime. Confused viewers can turn to the increasing number of websites and books that provide insight into the context of K-dramas. Among the most popular of these websites is dramabeans.com, which explains critical plot points that are based on the Korean language and culture. These trendy tools allow viewers to keep up with their favorite dramas while also learning more about Korea. Satisfy your craving for South Korea with some K-drama and a box of Kleenex. While you might laugh and cry, you’ll also learn more about the mystery and the majesty of one of the most beautiful nations on the earth. K-dramas are the perfect cultural preparation for the day you finally land in Seoul, ready to experience Korea for yourself.
—Kenna Blaylock and Sarah Juchau
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Sacred Wonders of the World
Herron finds the devotion of ancient peoples inspiring: “Ancient architecture was more of a way of life than contemporary architecture is. People would dedicate their lives to the construction of a building they might never see completed.”
This dedication often stemmed from religious devotion: ancient peoples built structures to honor the gods they loved or feared. Their devotion has survived the ages through beautiful and enduring religious architecture. These buildings continue to inspire people around the world.
El Castillo The ancient Meso american marvel of El Castillo is among the iconic step pyramids in Yucatan, Mexico. Dating from AD 800, El Castillo was built to worship Kukulcan, the feathered serpent deity of the Yucatec Maya people. The massive terraced stone slabs that form the distinctive shape leave people in awe—how an 80-foot stone pyramid
was built without modern machinery is almost unfathomable. The Mayans worshipped their gods using astronomy, as reflected in their architecture. Each of El Castillo’s four sides contains 91 stairs, plus one shared top step—totaling 365 steps, one for each day of the Mayan calendar. During the spring and autumn equinoxes, the late afternoon sun hits the northwest corner of the pyramid, creating a serpentshaped shadow that slithers to the ground as the sun sets. The Mayans’ hard work and sacrifice in erecting this monument speaks volumes of their piety. Such sacrifice and devotion are truly inspiring.
Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral Entering the Sainte-Chappelle cathedral in Paris, France, is “like standing inside the most beautiful Fabergé egg,” says Christy Newman from Cheltenham, England. Because
Above: Ancient Mayans would climb 91 stairs to worship their gods in the temple of El Castillo. Left: Sainte-Chapelle is a unique example of Gothic religious architecture.
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Top: photo by Rodolfo Raiza G. (photo flipped); Left: photo by Roman Betík
“Religious buildings, more than any other type of structure, are a unique window into the heart and soul of man. They tell of people reaching for something greater than themselves,” says Grant Herron, a master’s student in architecture at the University of Michigan.
Top: photo by Renate Dodell; Bottom: photo by Pablo Pecora
the exterior looks like many other cathedrals, Newman says unknowing visitors would “never think something so lovely was tucked away inside.” Completed in 1248, the SainteChapelle cathedral was Louix IX’s royal chapel. While known for nearly floor-to-ceiling stained glass, the cathedral also houses holy relics that Louis IX personally bought. The Sainte-Chapelle sustained damages during the French Revolution but was restored during the 19th century, when it was made a national historic monument. You’ll feel a quiet reverence as you contemplate your own beliefs in this sacred space.
The mountain protects the monastery from centuries of erosion, sunshine, and flooding. Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucians have all found spiritual refuge in the temple, perhaps because of the seamless blend of nature and architecture. You too may find refuge and inner peace when visiting the Hanging Monastery.
The largest religious work ever constructed, the Karnak Temple complex in Luxor, Egypt, covers about 200 acres and was built over a span of 1,300 years. About 30 pharaohs left their mark, adding smaller temples and shrines to the site. In its day, Karnak was called Ipet-isut, or the
Also known as the Xuankong Temple, the Hanging Monastery in Datong, China, is exactly what it sounds like. The 1,500-year-old monastery hangs from the west side of Mount Hengshan, 165 feet above the ground.
Right: A monk sits quietly on a balcony of the Hanging Monastery. Below: The Karnak Temple in Egypt is 200 acres of ancient shrines.
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Sultan Ahmet Mosque Standing only a few hundred meters from the famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, the “Blue Mosque” is far from overshadowed. The nickname of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque comes from the 20,000 blue ceramic tiles adorning the interior of the 17thcentury building. Sultan Ahmet I, the
mosque’s namesake and commissioner, was so eager for its completion that he actually helped with the construction work himself! Speaking of the mosque, Rachel Shackelford of Beaverton, Oregon, says, “I loved the gorgeous simplicity of the Blue Mosque. I felt how sacred of a place it is for the people who pray there, and it was an honor to be able to experience that beauty.” With cascading domes and arches, six minarets, and numberless nature-themed tiles, you’ll feel a reverence for something larger than yourself. Whatever your background or faith, the history and architecture of religious edifices is likely to resonate with you. As you visit these sites,
Herron recommends, “take a moment to reflect on how [they] make you feel. Architecture has that power, and if you choose to awaken yourself to it, you start to understand just how powerful it is.” ▶▶
—Caroline Bliss Larsen
Muslim and non-Muslim visitors alike come to marvel at the magnificent Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
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Photo by Tim O’Brien
“most select of places.” The size of the temple and the length of the construction time are strong testaments of the ancient Egyptians’ devotion to their gods and pharaohs. As you walk through this ancient relic, you can find evidence of their devotion in the temple’s beautiful details.
Tasting Cultures in Food Markets
Photo by Sara Marlowe
Borough Market, London tacks of fresh, crusty bread balance S precariously next to enormous pots Nestled just a few blocks from the of curry and piles of olives, mangoes, and fish; the cries of hawkers and the pungent smell of spice and hot oil fill the air; people brush past. Wandering through a food market is a sensory experience—a blend of the world’s most succulent smells, tastes, sights, and sounds. Colors blend with unique flavor. It’s enough to make any food lover deeply, helplessly happy. Embracing Virginia Woolf’s platitude that “one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” street food vendors offer comforting tastes from home and exotic tastes from everywhere else—at affordable prices. Don’t be afraid to try local street food! Sampling the medley of new cuisine in a food market is a quick and tasty way to become acquainted with the culture of a new place. Whether you are in Bombay or Boston, street food can be found nearly everywhere, making it easy to experience the tastes of the world. Here’s a sampling of Stowaway’s favorite locales for great street food and food markets.
Globe Theatre and the banks of the Thames River, Borough Market in Southward, London, offers some of the finest dining the city has to offer. The open-air market is unique in its wide variety of dining options, from world-renowned chefs in wellestablished restaurants to amateurs who simply love to cook. The market stalls feature seafood, dairy, spice, and charcuterie.
Truckeroo Food Truck Festival, Washington, DC Food trucks from around the greater Washington, DC, area gather once or twice a month on Fridays between April and October for an exhibition of local and international cuisine. A growing trend around the United States, food trucks contain small kitchens in which to prepare gourmet food. With the same certification standards as restaurants, food trucks are a hygienic source of delicious eats. The Truckeroo Festival offers delicacies as varied as Cajun shrimp and Vietnamese egg rolls, fresh crab
sandwiches and Korean barbeue, and gelato and empanadas. Local residents love the fresh lobster rolls.
Shilin Night Market, Taipei Spilling off covered sidewalks and into thoroughfares, over 500 food stalls compete with karaoke bars and Internet cafes in Taiwan’s cool, vibrant night air. Night markets are an enormous success in Taiwan and offer a variety of Asian cuisine. In the heart of Taipei, Shilin Market hits its business peak at about 10 pm each night and doesn’t die down until the early hours of the morning. A famous delicacy is Taipei’s oyster omelet, known for its savory taste.
The Union of Culture
Savory flavors blend with sweet, and culture meets convenience in food markets around the world. Learn more about your own culture by trying street food near you and by fearlessly sampling local cuisine while abroad. Street markets offer the perfect marriage between the familiar and the exotic, a place to unite—and a place to eat fantastic food.
—Sarah Juchau A spice market in Goa, India.
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LIMES F O U R C O R N E R S O F T H E K I TC H E N
There’s nothing better than limes to pack a tangy punch. While you may not be adventurous enough to eat a lime on its own, this member of the citrus family complements a wide range of ingredients. From a cold, creamy drink to a savory soup, these four recipes highlight the way limes are used around the world. —Naomi Clegg
Don’t let the name of this sweet, creamy concoction fool you—it’s actually made out of limes. Just as appealing, whipping up a pitcher of this refreshing drink takes only a few minutes.
Elote is a popular Mexican street food and a particularly delicious way to enjoy fresh-off-the-stalk corn. For easier eating, make esquites: cut the corn off the cobs, and put it in bowls with all the toppings.
Ingredients 2 limes ½ cup sugar 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk 3 cups water 1 cup ice
Ingredients 4 ears corn, shucked ¼ cup mayonnaise ¼ cup unsalted butter ¾ teaspoon ancho chili powder ¼ cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped ½ cup cotija or mild feta cheese 1 lime, cut into wedges
Directions 1. Wash the limes thoroughly. Cut off the ends, and slice into 4 wedges. 2. Place the limes in a blender with the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, water, and ice. Pulse 5 times. 3. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a large pitcher. Serve over additional ice, if desired. Yield: 4 servings Total time: 5 minutes
Directions 1. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Grill the corn until hot and lightly charred on all sides, about 8 minutes. Alternately, boil the corn until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the mayonnaise, butter, ½ teaspoon chili powder, and cilantro. 3. When the corn is tender, roll it in the mayonnaise mixture. Cover with the cotija cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ teaspoon chili powder, and serve with lime wedges. Yield: 4 servings Total time: 20 minutes
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Tom Kha Gai
One of the most-loved Thai dishes of all time, this chickencoconut soup requires little preparation but is a rich dish intended to be the centerpiece of a meal. Keep the soup at a low temperature to avoid curdling.
This simple salad of fresh vegetables and mint gets a burst of flavor from lime juice. After preparing, refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors meld. Serve with chicken kabobs.
From left: photos by TheCulinaryGeek, Mike, Kim Siciliano, and Emi Moriya
Ingredients 2 stalks fresh lemongrass 1-inch piece fresh galangal or gingerroot, sliced 10 fresh kaffir lime leaves 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, chopped into 1-inch pieces ½ pound fresh cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered 13.5-ounce can coconut milk ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper ¼ cup lime juice 2 tablespoon fish sauce Cilantro, chopped 1 lime, sliced into wedges Directions 1. Using the back of a knife, lightly bruise the lemongrass. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Slice the galangal. 2. In a large saucepan, bring the lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, and chicken stock to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes. 3. Strain the broth into a clean saucepan; discard the solids. Add the chicken to the saucepan with the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to slightly below simmering. Add the mushrooms to the broth. 4. Once the chicken is cooked through (20–25 minutes), add the coconut milk. Stir until heated. Add the cayenne pepper; remove from the heat. 5. Add the lime juice and fish sauce. Taste and add more if necessary. Top with cilantro and lime wedges. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
Ingredients 2 English cucumbers, peeled and chopped 4 medium tomatoes, chopped 1 medium red onion, finely chopped ½ cup fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped Salt and pepper, to taste Directions 1. In a large bowl, combine vegetables. 2. In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, olive oil, mint, salt, and pepper. 3. Pour lime juice mixture over vegetables, and toss to mix. Yield: 4 servings Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings Total time: 45 minutes www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 55
Leading Edge Leading Edge is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy magazine.
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Field Notes Graffiti is an alternative expression of life and beauty.
Australia by Rail
The New Art Tour
Choose to Serve
Tales from the Trip
Photo Contest Winners
Cross the great Down Under by rail.
Color your travels with tours of pop culture’s trendy art.
Follow Cary Gray’s record-breaking unicycle journey across the Western Hemisphere.
Discover your perfect service opportunity abroad.
Read travel stories from Stowaway readers.
Photo by Ben Schumin
Enjoy the winning entries of Stowaway’s photo contest.
www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 57
Australia by Rail Australia is the sixth largest country by land mass, the world’s largest island, and an entire continent! You’ll need to do some clever planning to make the most of your adventure Down Under. To maximize your time and money in Australia, travel by rail.
Running north to south, a one-way Ghan route lasts two nights. The train ride begins in Adelaide or
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Darwin—your choice—and stops in Alice Springs, roughly halfway through the transcontinental journey. You can choose to disembark in Alice Springs for off-train excursions, or you can ride the rail straight through. One-way adult tickets start at AUD $889. It may seem like a steep price, but it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to see such a broad range of the country. And there are often discounts and partial tickets to bring down the cost.
The Central Market in Adelaide is a highlight you won’t want to miss. A handful of gardeners founded the
market in 1869, and it still stands today, although it’s undergone numerous transformations. From bakeries to nut bars to delis to bookstores, you are sure to find something you’ll enjoy. Several traders offer tastings for anyone who wants to sample before buying. The market is closed on Sundays and certain public holidays, so double-check before stopping by.
If you want to see the outback, visit the MacDonnell Ranges in Alice Springs. In particular, West MacDonnell National Park boasts spectacular gorges, chasms, and
Photo by Adam Williams
The national railroad website lists 18 separate journeys to choose from, all intersecting at different points and combining to span the continent. Two train journeys in particular offer magnificent views and essential sightseeing opportunities. Together, the Ghan and the Indian Pacific routes form the perfect introductory Australian experience. The primary stops on each journey provide mustsee highlights in each major city.
waterholes that provide opportunities for hiking, biking, and swimming. While it’s a candid glimpse into the Australian wilderness, the park is carefully maintained so you’ll never feel lost or vulnerable to the elements.
Darwin Waterfront Precinct
You will feel like you’ve found a tropical paradise when you arrive at Darwin’s Waterfront Precinct. The awe-inspiring Sky Bridge and the Smith Street East Walkway connect this precinct to the rest of Darwin. Swim in the ocean, the Wave Lagoon, or the Recreation Lagoon and build a sandcastle under the bright sun. Then for dinner, bring a picnic meal or chow down at a local restaurant.
Running perpendicular to the Ghan, the Indian Pacific journey runs east to west and lasts three nights. You have the choice of starting in Sydney or Perth, then stopping to explore
Adelaide in between. One-way adult tickets start at AUD $899, but the railway provides several options for discounts.
The Rocks is an urban town considered to be the historic city center of Sydney. Located on the southern shore of Sydney Harbor, the Rocks thrives as a tourist precinct. Consider taking a walking tour to see the pubs, cobblestone lanes, and other historic sites, or absorb the culture by visiting art museums and food markets. Either way, you’ll find unique and vibrant opportunities in the Rocks.
In addition to Adelaide’s Central Market, Historic Hahndorf is a place worth visiting. Located just 20 minutes outside of Adelaide, Historic Hahndorf is the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia. The quaint village may not fit into your preconceptions of the untamed Australian outback, but that’s a good thing because Australia is so much more.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden is one of the largest city parks in the world. Aboriginal and European history combine in a lush center for public education, family recreation, and wildlife conservation. Two-thirds of the park is composed of bushland, while the remainder contains gardens, playgrounds, shops, and cafés. The park is open to visitors seven days a week year-round, except for Christmas Day, and admission is free, making the park an accessible and affordable outing.
Your Ticket to the Land Down Under
Australian railways offer a broad view of the country’s landscape and of cities’ highlights. Travel on the Ghan or Indian Pacific railway for an incredible opportunity to see the diverse natural and cultural wonders of Australia.
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Art Tour Photography by Kate Zeller
Graffiti has always been about pushing limits. The spirit of the graffiti and street art culture (or perhaps more appropriately, counterculture) is a rebellious, sometimes anarchic one. Whether you consider graffiti to be a work of art or an indication of the looming collapse of civilized society, graffiti flourishes in urban areas. Though sometimes used for gang purposes, graffiti also serves as social commentary, self-expression, and community beautification—according to the definition of the artist or writer, at least. The social criticism and ironic humor of Banksy (arguably the most famous graffiti artist of our time) and other graffiti artists have garnered international interest. Some works are surprising and original enough to be copied on walls around the world and even sold in museums. One noteworthy example is Banksy’s “Flower Thrower,” which depicts a man poised as if he is about to throw a grenade—but with a bouquet of flowers. Banksy and other graffiti artists from all over the world are increasingly sought after by the modern art elite to create art pieces for galleries and museums everywhere.
Previous page: Man playing guitar at the Lennon wall in Prague, Czech Republic. Top left: Graffiti in the Metro in Rome, Italy. Top right: Graffiti face in Jerusalem, Israel. Bottom: More graffiti from the Lennon wall in Prague.
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With all the interest in graffiti and the sociopolitical messages it conveys, graffiti has begun to make a name for itself as a legitimate artistic expression. And that means one thing: graffiti tours. Here are some of the most popular graffiti destinations and some of the tours that have brought art connoisseurs and teenage revolutionaries together in some of the most unlikely tour groups the world has ever seen.
New York, United States The Big Apple, with its diverse culture and social classes, was a perfect breeding ground for graffiti in the 1970s and 1980s. The enormous disparity between the city’s rich and famous and the famously poor led many in the latter group to prove their mettle through acts of bravado, covering the walls and trains of the city with their names and the images in their heads.
GraffTours offer tours of downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn on Thursdays to Sundays. For a reasonable price you’re guided through one of the city’s graffiti-covered boroughs. ▶▶
Freetoursbyfoot offers tours of much the same area as GraffTours, only for free. The company also provides a map on its website so you can take your own self-guided tours. ▶▶
The mecca for graffiti fans is an old warehouse known as 5 Pointz, located in New York City. The collection of graffiti even has its own curator because the warehouse contains pieces from graffiti big-timers hailing from all over the world, from New Zealand to Brazil to Brooklyn. Tickets can be costly, but a warehouse tour will save you a good deal of walking. sidetour.com/experiences/explore -the-epicenter-of-graffiti-culture -at-5pointz-aerosol-art-center
Top: photo by Kate Zeller; Bottom: photo by Bill Dickinson
Top: Graffiti of a painter in Lyon, France. Bottom: Graffiti from Graffiti Alley in Richmond, Virginia.
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Graffiti in a neighborhood in the Netherlands.
Top: photo by Salam Virij; Bottom: photo courtesy of Banksy.co.uk
If you want to see some of Banksy’s politically charged works for yourself, London is the place to go (although you can also find some of his work in the capitals of most countries now adays). Free maps marking the sites of his work are easy to find through an Internet search. And there are many more graffiti artists in London than just Banksy. London’s ethnic and cultural diversity have led to a graffiti scene encompassing perspectives from all over the world.
On this tour, you’ll not only view some great street art, but you’ll also learn how to do a little stencil One of Banksy’s works of street art.
spraying yourself. Alternative London also offers a Street Art Bike Tour for those brave enough to compete with London traffic. ▶▶
Shoreditch Street Art Tours
Listed as a top hit on Trip Advisor, even London natives can learn a thing or two about graffiti art on this informative, alley-winding tour. ▶▶
Buenos Aires, Argentina Although late to the graffiti game, Argentina is making up for lost time. In contrast to the United States and England, painting graffiti isn’t illegal in Argentina—yet another reason the country has become so colorful in recent years. The country’s artists are strongly influenced by Brazilian-style graffiti, but the cultural differences between the two countries has led to colors and styles unique to Argentina. Artists often mix their own colors, using biting reds, blazing yellows, and ocean-colored blues.
Buenos Aires Street Art Tours
A little on the pricier side, this street tour takes visitors to many gems they won’t find in guidebooks. The tour company also has aerosol workshops in which visitors can color the town whatever hue they choose. ▶▶
Drive around in a classy minibus to get a great view of some of the best street art in the city and to learn about how the country’s history has affected the art of the street. ▶▶
Street art tours are popping up all over the world as artists and writers take to the streets. Find a tour in an area near you, or hit the streets in true graffiti style and find what’s out there all on your own. Graffiti is the ultimate grassroots art and has a unique power to speak to individuals from all walks of life.
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One-Wheel Wanderings “If you want to get good at writing, you write. If you want to get good at camping, you camp. If you want to get good at life, you go on a unicycle tour.”
A Crazy Idea
Top: Cary Gray rides his unicycle through the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. Bottom: Gray stops at a campground along the beach in Mahahual, Mexico.
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When Gray was ten, he was given his uncle’s unicycle. Over the next few years, Gray’s interest—and skill—in unicycling grew, and he started riding the unicycle almost a mile to school every day. But he didn’t consider taking his unicycling to the next level until after graduating from college, when he decided to take a trip to South America. He remembers thinking, “I can take a few [airplane] flights here and there, but that’s a little bit expensive. . . . I could backpack like everyone else, but that’s pretty standard.” Next he considered going on a bike, but as he puts it, “That’s not
very interesting. Why don’t I do it on a unicycle? Why don’t I do something that hasn’t been done before? “I think most people have this moment at least once in their life where they have a thought, a crazy idea, but as soon as you think it, you can’t unthink it. . . . A lot of people don’t think of what’s possible; they only think of what’s practical. Practicality is great, but nothing creative comes from being practical all the time.” For Gray, possible means doable. “When I was a kid, I built trebuchets, so any time I get an idea that I know is possible, I see it to the end. The only reason I had to stop building trebuchets was because the insurance company claimed them as deadly weapons.” Even with his can-do attitude, Gray decided to test the idea of unicycling to South America by starting with a (relatively) shorter trip: Baltimore, Maryland, to St. Louis, Missouri. “I did it in 17 days and it was miserable, but I loved it, which set in motion the grand plan.”
Doing the Impossible
A year later, on July 9, 2013, Gray started his journey to South America. Over the next few months, he cycled up to Canada, across the United States, and down the Baja Peninsula into Mexico. From there he made his way to Cancun, Mexico, where
Photos by Cary Gray
“I want to thank the person who stole my passport and valuables in Colombia, South America, three months ago today. Technically, you changed my life,” says Cary Gray, a cross-country unicyclist. As you might suspect, Gray is not your average 25-year-old. He currently holds the world record for the longest unicycle trip, which took him across North and South America. But he’s not done—he plans to return to South America and continue riding across other continents in the future. His motivation doesn’t come from breaking records, however—it comes from his pure love of travel. “A lot of people say, ‘Why the unicycle? You must really like unicycling.’ It’s not the unicycle; it’s the traveling I wanted to do first.”
he “failed miserably” as a unicycle entertainer. He then continued on to Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, eventually unicycling to Panama. Gray crossed Panama four times in search of a boat that could take him to Colombia. “I ended up not finding a boat, but I found an English guy [Nicolas Gault] and I said, ‘Are you a sailor?’ And he said, ‘No, but I was thinking of kayaking to Colombia.’ And I said, ‘That sounds cool. I guess I am too.’” So Gray and Gault bought a 20-foot-long wooden kayak. They spent the next three and a half weeks paddling the 150 miles to Colombia— with the unicycle inside the boat. “I only rode about two weeks into South America. When I got into Medellin, Colombia, . . . I had to stay at a hostel. On the second night I was at the hostel, . . . someone stole [my] whole bag, with my passport, debit card, GoPro [camera], zip drives with months of data of [my] journey—basically everything, everything I needed. They stole it all.”
Stunned, Gray decided to fly home. But rather than worrying about his stolen belongings, he worried about his world record. He’d broken the previous record while cycling through Panama, but he wanted to secure the record by more than just a few miles. Though he no longer had his passport or valuables, Gray wasn’t deterred. “Basically all the stealing of my stuff did was force me to decide something, and that’s not bad. . . . What that person did ended up
putting me in a good place. I went home and saw my family [for two months]. Some people consider that I’m starting a new journey. I consider going home part of the journey. It’s all part of the journey.” Luckily, Gray’s journey home didn’t violate Guinness World Records guidelines. To continue adding miles to his world record for the longest unicycle trip, he has to ride at least once every two weeks (taking a new route) and can’t stay in one city for more than two months.
Getting Out There
After some time at home, Gray started up his trip again. His plan now includes not only breaking personal and world records but also visiting schools across the United States in his Get Out There program to encourage kids to get out, get active, and get healthy. And through it all, Gray maintains his adventurous and uplifting attitude. “When you do something like this for long enough, everything, even if it’s the worst experience you’ve ever had, turns into something you can laugh about later.” ►caryoutthere.com
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Choose to Serve Any humanitarian travel experience can be rewarding, but choosing the right experience can be life changing. So how do you find an experience that will change your life and also improve the lives of others? According to Dane Andersen, a humanitarian project enthusiast, “you need to do your research.” Why is research so important? Because you’ll find many types of humanitarian groups to choose from: short-term groups (2–6 weeks) or long-term groups (3–12 months); groups that allow personal travel time or groups that are dedicated solely to humanitarian work; and groups that depend entirely on volunteers to complete service projects or groups that bring in volunteers to help year-round staff. Not sure how to go about researching humanitarian aid organizations? Start with these four questions: 1. What’s my goal? To do service? To make a travel experience more meaningful? 2. What skills do I have that can help make a difference? 3. Which organization will best help me use my skills to benefit others? 4. What will this organization do after I leave to sustain my efforts and make a real impact? To get you started, here are some organizations Stowaway has checked out. But don’t limit yourself to these options. Let your goals and talents be your guide in selecting a rewarding humanitarian aid experience.
Humanitarian service trips offer chances to make lifelong friendships.
Program: Sustain Haiti Destination: Haiti Cost: $3,000 for 6 weeks (or $2,300 for 3 weeks) Objective: Sustain Haiti seeks to strengthen Haitian communities by empowering community leaders. Volunteers accomplish this goal by teaching English, hosting hygiene classes, and working side by side with locals to improve agroforestry. What You’ll Experience: “They really needed us all the time, whether that was working in the gardens, installing pipes in roads to people’s gardens, teaching English, or just playing with people’s kids. Every step of the way, people need a helping hand.” —Michelle Peets Volunteer Reflection: “I have never felt such love permeate a community. . . . What I learned and felt was worth any sacrifice I had to make to get there. I highly recommend that you make humanitarian service to an organization you believe in a top priority.” —Michelle Peets How to Get Involved: sustain-haiti.org
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From left: photography courtesy of AILC, YouthLinc, and HELP International
Left: YouthLinc volunteers in Peru teach a woman how to sew. Right: Children play a game with a HELP International volunteer.
Program: HELP International
Destinations: Cambodia, Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, Peru, and Thailand
Destinations: Belize, Fiji, India, Peru, Uganda, and Thailand
Cost: $2,500 to $3,800 (typically 2 weeks)
Cost: $1,050 to $3,750 (from 6 days to 15 weeks)
Objective: YouthLinc’s vision is for youth to understand local and global needs and become lifetime humanitarians. YouthLinc accomplishes this vision by encouraging young volunteers to participate in leadership, service, and other types of projects locally and internationally.
Objective: HELP International strives to find sustainable solutions to poverty by partnering with local organizations. HELP International emphasizes a variety of projects in entrepreneurship, public health, and community education.
What You’ll Experience: “We helped build a water catchment system by building a well and bathrooms. We also cleaned and painted all of the classrooms, created a mural on their school, taught them microenterprise and health care, and shared cultures through dance.” —Liana Tan Volunteer Reflection: “My favorite part was playing games with the children. . . . I was truly amazed at the friendships we could build though we didn’t even speak the same language. . . . The bonds I made with those villagers have inspired me to continue humanitarian work in my future.” —Liana Tan How to Get Involved: youthlinc.org
What You’ll Experience: “I was a team leader for several projects. I tutored at-risk youth, and I created a curriculum that outlines coping skills for children who were victims of domestic violence or whose mothers were victims of domestic violence. I worked on building a garden with cinder block walls for a school, . . . [and] I worked at a nursing and rehabilitation center to support the nurses and staff with activities of daily living and physical therapy.” —Leslie Sundblom Volunteer Reflection: “It was a life-changing experience for us and something we hope to do with our children later. It’s impossible to really understand what it’s like to live in a third-world country without experiencing it firsthand.” —Shanna Warr How to Get Involved: help-international.org
HELP Linc International
Left: Children gather around an AILC volunteer. Right: A researcher with BYU takes time to relax.
Destinations: Kenya and Nakuru Cost: $3,800 (typically 2 weeks) Objective: The goal of AILC is to empower women and children by teaching them practical life skills and nurturing their individual worth. What You’ll Experience: “We built two boarding schools for both younger and older kids, which include libraries, kitchens, rooms, classrooms, and more. We work with women, teaching them how to sew and create a business for themselves. We also work to sponsor children to go to school. I taught computer classes for 4 months to the children. We also do medical work in villages and IDP (internally displaced people) camps around Nakuru.” —Caralee Child Volunteer Reflection: “I absolutely love every minute I get to spend in Kenya. It feels like my second home. The family I lived with while I was out there became my own family. . . . I feel the work I did on a personal level with each individual is what counts the most. It is incredible to watch someone’s demeanor change because you showed them that they matter; nothing can replace that.” —Caralee Child
Program: Brigham Young University’s Program Evaluation and Assessment Team (PEAT) Destinations: Depends on the partner organizations Cost: Funded by PEAT and partners for one semester Objective: PEAT partners with organizations to research and evaluate the organizations and help them develop stronger and more effective programs. What You’ll Experience: “We conducted interviews, gathered surveys, and did observations. Following our time in Uganda, we put together a large report of our findings to give to the organizations. Our hope was to provide them with data that they could use to apply for grants and other funding.” —Hayley Pierce Volunteer Reflection: “You do a lot of work in the country for the nonprofit organizations you work for. I learned about conducting research, working with different people, and writing professional reports while actually doing those things, as opposed to simply being told how to do them. It was extremely stressful and hard work, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” —Hayley Pierce How to Get Involved: kennedy.byu.edu/academic/ development/peat
How to Get Involved: africaislifechanging.org
PEAT Africa Is Life Changing
Program Evaluation and Assessment Team at BYU
From left: photography courtesy of AILC and PEAT
Program: Africa Is Life Changing (AILC)
Make your organization more successful with the help of trained interns and students
PEAT interns can help: Assess impact Identify aspects of program that do or do not work Identify critical needs of program participants Obtain objective data to inform others about the program Determine whether program is implemented effectively
Tales From the Trip Growing up in Texas doesn’t give you a lot of experience with hiking enormous mountains, but my brother Jeremy and I were excited to hike Utah’s Mount Timpanogos (11,752 feet) one night in mid-October 2007. Hiking with us was a guy named Jeff, whose climbing pack was actually a rolling suitcase. About two hours into the strenuous hike, snow began to cover the trail. We didn’t worry—being careful not to slip, we climbed on. But after another hour of climbing, the trail disappeared under deep snow. Realizing that we might take a nasty fall if we tried to hike down the mountain, we continued to climb. Jeff’s rolling suitcase struggled through the snow, and after an exhausting 20 minutes, we were excited to find a good place to camp for the night. Around 6:30 am, Jeremy and I found Jeff shivering uncontrollably.
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He hadn’t changed out of his wet clothes when we’d settled into camp, and he’d been cold and wet all night. Extreme cold isn’t something you see much in Texas, but we knew that Jeff was in serious danger and might have hypothermia, so we contacted Search and Rescue. Two teams were sent out to find us, but either the snow had gotten too deep or the Abominable Snowman ate them, because we never saw them. Fortunately, members of a volunteer emergency response team were close by and bumped into us. They helped Jeff down the mountain while Jeremy and I hiked behind, carrying Jeff’s rolling suitcase. It was great fun, but after an hour of sinking knee-deep into the snow because of the suitcase’s weight, we’d had enough. We stood at the edge of a nearby cliff, and Jeremy did the honors:
he pitched the suitcase down the mountain. After finally reaching the bottom, Jeff was taken to the hospital. We learned that his long, wet night in the mountains had caused moderate hypothermia, altitude sickness, and dehydration. But thanks to the volunteer emergency response team that arrived just in time, Jeff made a full recovery (the occasional episode of suitcase withdrawal excepted, of course). This unforgettable experience taught me to prepare well for adventures and to stick to the trail. I have since made it to the top of Mount Timpanogos, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it in October—especially if you’re thinking of bringing your suitcase along.
—Jordan Jones Fairview, TX
Photo by Chris Bickham
The Mountain and the Suitcase
Stares and Staring When I went to China, I lived there for four and a half months. I didn’t just dip my toe into the massive expanse that is China’s culture; I dived in, headfirst. I went to the “small” city of Fuqing, population a few million, to teach English. With me came five other American girls. Whenever we went out on the streets of the Chinese city, which didn’t ever have tourists, the locals would gawk like they were looking at an endangered species, particularly since I am nearly 5 foot 10, with light brown hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. On our trip to Shanghai, we walked the “Golden Mile,” a popular stretch of shopping opportunities. We weren’t the only tourists with white skin, and we found ourselves goggling at the others with similar skin tones. Months had passed since we had seen anyone
else who looked remotely non-Asian. We finally understood the staring a little better. We ended at the Bund, a famous waterfront area, where one side of the river has historical buildings and the other a modern cityscape, including the Oriental Pearl Tower. We sat down to eat our lunch on a cement tier, admiring the view. The natives took pictures of us discreetly, and then one brave person asked to sit among us to take a picture. That gave another person the courage to do the same. Soon we had a crowd of twenty, then thirty, then forty people wanting to take pictures. Soon they didn’t even ask—one person ran in, sat down, snapped a picture. As soon as that person stood up, another ran in. This process lasted for about 20 minutes. I
can proudly say that I am in hundreds of Chinese photo albums. I’m back in the United States now, and I think about China every day. I think about the friends I made, the pictures people took, even the awkward stares. I wish I could have it all back. I want to jump back into that joyous culture with both feet. I want to hear the students call me gāo (tall) or comment on my lánsè (blue) eyes. I want to feel the love that enveloped me everywhere I went, whether it came from the smile of a stranger passing me on the street or the little arms that wrapped around me in my classroom. I want it all.
—Heather Sundblom West Valley City, UT
The Scent of San Francisco
Photo by Martin Holuza
Photo by Chris Bickham
The scent of San Francisco was still heavy on our wrinkled clothes, even though we were halfway home. The car was brimming with the scent, and with each breath I was more delirious with the memories: Chinatown sweet rolls, the ocean breeze, and the farmers’ markets on Market Street. Even when the cop pulled me over for speeding, the smell didn’t disappear. He sauntered up to the driver’s
side window, and I smiled sheepishly, wondering if he could smell the city on us. Even if he couldn’t smell San Francisco, he’d definitely smell the bananas—they’d ripened in the back seat as we’d ridden creaking cable cars, eaten at Italian restaurants, and explored musty bookstores. I imagined the smell spilling from the car window, rolling out over the cop like the fog over the bay. He
must have smelled it—must have felt it—because he didn’t even give us a warning. He just recommended the pizzeria down the street and told us to have a safe trip. We drove on, nestled comfortably in the scents of San Francisco that we were sure would never dissipate.
—Hadley Griggs Phoenix, AZ
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First Place Gesso Blue
30 seconds of darkness.
Las Vegas, NV
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Gaudí, the architect of the Sagrada Familia cathedral, intended that worshippers would see the glory of God as they entered the central nave.
—Matt Reschke Monte Vista, CO
We arrived at the Grand Canyon North Rim to find a fog blanketing the canyon, but as we reached the Navajo Bridge, we saw this spectacular view.
—Taylor Hare Kennewick, WA
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Studies on the Family
Stance: Studies on the Family is associated with Brigham Young University. This student journal was created to encourage students from all disciplines to research and to write about the institution of marriage and family. Our journal emphasizes the impact that marriage and family have on society and increases awareness of current issues affecting the family. We encourage professionalism, respect, and tolerance.
Stance: Studies on the Family
Insider Alternative lodging can help you save money and see things you might not find in a hotel district.
Swallowing the Unsavory
Traveling with Kids
Paradise for a Penny
Packing Smart with PackPoint
Quiz: Discover Your Ideal Destination
Train your palate to handle—even love—any foreign food.
Find your home away from home outside your average hotel accommodations.
Stay sane by following these tips for traveling with kids.
Your dream cruise may be more affordable than you think.
Learn how to travel safely alone while easing your mom’s fears.
Never forget those travel essentials again by planning with this handy app.
Photo by Joshua Scott
Where should you go for your next vacation? Find out with this destination-city quiz.
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We’ve all had that experience: you open your mouth, take a bite, and then wish you hadn’t. Everyone has those certain foods they just can’t stand and wish they never have to face again. Unfortunately, especially when you’re traveling, it’s likely that strange new foods will make their way to your plate. However, you can be prepared for the next time this happens and even grow to love those foods you once disliked.
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SPICINESS While some people grow up loving spicy foods, many people can’t stand even the mildest of salsas. But with some time and effort, anyone can increase their tolerance of spiciness. Start off small. Add a little bit of spice to your meals, such as crushed red pepper flakes or additional black pepper. Once you get used to a bit of heat, gradually increase the spiciness of your foods. Add some mild chilies,
such as poblanos or cubanelles. Once you’ve mastered these flavors, step it up to some of the spicier chilies, like jalapeños. One of the hardest parts of increasing your heat tolerance is that you need to make yourself uncomfortable. Stretch yourself to new limits. If you have trouble with doing that, keep some milk or sour cream on hand. Dairy products are natural coolants and can help you handle the heat.
Photo by L. W. Wang
insider There are so many delicious spicy foods out there to be experienced. If you follow these steps, you’ll be amazed what new foods you can try and enjoy without having to worry about that dreaded burning sensation. If you continually experience severe stomach pains when eating spicy foods, then stop. Spicy food is not for everyone, so make your health the first priority.
Top: photo by J. Patrick Fischer, Middle: photo by Mattes, Bottom: photo by Sierra Michels Slettvet
ACQUIRED TASTES People grow up liking certain foods because of their culture and the way they were raised. As a result, the first time they try foods from a different culture they often wonder how anyone enjoys the foods. For example, kimchi is a staple food in Korea and is eaten with almost every meal. But for people who grew up outside of Korea, kimchi is usually a taste that must be acquired. Fortunately, you can grow to like almost any food. The key is to just keep eating it. Just as with spicy foods, you will need to make yourself uncomfortable. The first few times may be unpleasant, but slowly you will start to enjoy foreign foods. If you are having trouble at first, alternate between food you don’t like and food you really enjoy. Or, try eating the unpleasant food in a different form. For example, insects such as termites, caterpillars, and locusts are consumed in many parts of the world. While eating one of these insects alone may seem disgusting, combining it with something better tasting, such as chocolate, can help you adjust to this foreign food. Make small steps until you can eat the food in every form imaginable. Eating on an empty stomach, having someone present to encourage you, and altering the food to look more appealing can also make it easier to swallow unappealing foods.
Bitter foods are naturally unappealing to most people. You are likely to come across some sort of bitter food if you are traveling in a foreign country. For example, Indian bitter melons are commonly used in Indian cuisine. Until you can get accustomed to the strong flavor of this melon, you can mask the bitterness by adding salt and spices. You can also decrease the bitterness of foods by adding sugar. Or, you can add butter or some kind of sauce or dressing. Wherever you’re traveling, you’ll likely be able to add one of these items, which will help you make it all the way through your dish.
Texture may be one of the most difficult food characteristics to grow accustomed to. While many people can endure a spicy dish, most people find it hard to keep down food with strange textures. If you plan on traveling, you need to find a way to not only keep the food down but also learn to enjoy it. Texture issues often come from mental associations. For example, you might find sushi to be slimy, a characteristic you may associate with something inedible. But once you change your mind-set and associate the unappealing texture with something both edible and delicious, you’ll be able to push through until the texture feels normal. As another example, instead of associating escargot with mucus, try comparing it to fruit snacks. To master different flavors and textures, get into the habit of trying new foods regularly. Not only will you eliminate a long-standing dislike for certain foods but you will grow to appreciate and enjoy foods from around the world—foods you otherwise would have missed out on.
Previous page: Korean dish made with kimchi. Top: Escargot, a French delicacy. Middle: Kai Mot, a Thai dish of ants and ant eggs. Bottom: Bitter melons.
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“Every room and hallway had been hand painted with graffiti murals,” Emily Cavender said of her first and favorite hostel. “The artwork was weird and strange and beautiful.” As a college student already stretching herself to pay for a study abroad in England, Cavender appreciated the hostel’s low cost compared to that of a hotel room in Edinburgh, Scotland. But she appreciated more than just the price: she also cited the helpful staff and residents-only pub as big perks. When asked if she would ever repeat the experience, Cavender said, “I would do it again in a heartbeat!” Cavender learned early on that a hotel is only one option in a wide spectrum of lodging choices. Restricting yourself to hotels can limit other aspects of a trip as well—the places you’ll see, money you’ll have for sightseeing, and opportunities for cultural interaction, to name a few. So before you decide where you’ll be staying on your next traveling adventure, consider the following alternative lodging options.
Explore Home Swaps and Apartment Rentals In addition to hostels (like where Cavender stayed), you might consider a home swap or an apartment rental. Michelle Glauser has tried
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the latter, and she loves that renting allows her to feel at home while traveling. She likes to see what kinds of books the owners keep on their shelves, and sometimes her hosts have offered vital insider tips on touring the locale. Swapping houses carries similar benefits, but the trick to a home swap is living somewhere that others will want to visit, making it a fair exchange. With both options, you’ll most likely avoid the crowd of hotels and
hostels, overpriced restaurants and souvenir shops, and tourist traps. And you’ll get a better idea of what it really feels like to live in your travel destination. If you’re interested in seeing what’s available, look no further than airbnb.com, a website that connects travelers with people who are renting out rooms, entire homes, and other spaces.
Let the Lodging Be Your Guide If you don’t have a firm location in mind when you begin planning your next trip, let lodging opportunities guide your choice. If you find an apartment for renting (or a house for swapping) somewhere off the beaten path, research activities and sights unique to the location. You’ll open yourself to an entire realm of enriching opportunities that you may never have otherwise found.
Photo by Kate Zeller
lternative A d Lodging
Traveling with Kids From the back of the car, a tiny voice asks how long ’til you arrive at Grandma’s house. Six hours—six hours to go. Family vacations can make some of the best memories, but parents of young children know it isn’t always easy to keep everyone happy on a trip. Next time you load up the little ones for an adventure, skip the migraine medicine and check out these tips for traveling with kids.
Photo courtesy of Larchleaf
First, when planning your trip, be creative. Some of the most popular family destinations are extremely expensive, while those off the beaten path may be just as enjoyable—for a fraction of the price. “Look for ‘hidden gems,’” says Mimi Slawoff, a travel columnist at LA Parent Magazine. “For example, the central California coast is much more affordable than LA or Malibu.”
When packing, consider mixing everyone’s clothes between bags. Ensure that everyone has one complete outfit in each suitcase, so if a suitcase gets lost, the damage is minimal. When you embark, timing is essential. “If you have a long flight, try to arrive at your destination in the late afternoon so you can all eat dinner and head straight to bed. Arriving in the morning with a whole day ahead of you is going to be painful,” says Erin Bender, a mom of two who blogs about her family travels at TravelWithBender.com. Bender suggests following your regular bedtime routine while traveling. To cut down on costs, whether at the airport or on the road, bring your own snacks since airport and
convenience store food is often expensive. Be wary of anything too salty or sugary, and watch out for choking hazards.
For entertainment en route, bring small, easy-to-pack toys for your child to play with. If you fly, avoid toys that make noise, which can irritate other passengers. You may want to invest in a new toy for the trip to help keep your child occupied and quiet. Toys and other items that travel well include books, toy cars, coloring books, and stickers. With these tips, you’ll be ready to take on your next trip to Grandma’s— and actually enjoy the journey.
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Paradise for a Penny Leave your cares onshore for a few days—without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for cheap summer (or year-round!) fun, why not catch the ocean breeze aboard a cruise ship? You read that right—cruises for the budget-minded. That cruise you’ve been dreaming of might not be as unattainable and expensive as it seems.
Photo by Don McCullough (photo flipped)
Where do I start? Start with the Internet, says Cruise One franchise owner Marianne Henderson. And start early, looking at prices and ports six to nine months before your projected departure date. But finding, booking, and planning the perfect cruise can be overwhelming with just the Internet as your guide, so consider asking for help. “It really is better to go through a travel agent,” Henderson states. They know their stuff. With the help of a seasoned travel agent, you won’t need to spend hours scouring the Web for deals. A travel agent will help you personalize your search and can also get you extra perks (such as onboard credit) that you can’t get online. And don’t worry: Henderson
assures that travel agents don’t cost you a penny—the bill falls to the cruise line.
Which destinations are cheapest?
The best deals are on trips to the Bahamas and short Caribbean cruises. Henderson especially recommends western Caribbean itineraries for those who want “fun in the sun.” And because the Caribbean is a popular destination, a lot of cruise ships sail there, meaning competition is high and prices are low.
Are there hidden fees? Before you make a final decision, consider the total cost. “[Online] prices show only the cruise fare and port fees—not taxes. So keep that in mind when you’re searching,” Henderson advises. Also keep in mind the nonnegotiable gratuity, which is usually $12 per person per day, and travel expenses to and from the port of call. Your travel agent will help you be aware of all cruise-related fees.
What do I pay for onboard? Once you’ve paid the upfront expenses and boarded the ship, “you don’t have to spend one dime more,” Henderson explains. That’s why an inexpensive cruise is such a good deal: lodging, food, and entertainment are all included. While you don’t have to spend more money, additional food and entertainment options are available: specialty dining, casinos, spas, Internet access, onboard shops, and port activities—excursions, shopping, food, and transportation. But rest assured, you can have the time of your life without these things! The main dining areas offer high-quality food for no extra charge. As for the Internet—relax and unplug for a while. You’ll be glad you did. Cruise prices are at an all-time low, and with the help of a travel agent and some frugality, you can enjoy a new location with a few extra bucks in your pocket. Just don’t lose them in the pool.
—Caroline Bliss Larsen
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Flying Solo “You are out of your mind.”
It’s the first thing you hear (and it’s usually out of your mom’s mouth): “You can’t travel alone. You’ll be assaulted, killed, and dumped in a river.” You roll your eyes, but your mom keeps worrying. For many, traveling alone sounds like a risky endeavor, but those who have tried it usually say that solo tourism is a rewarding and exciting experience. It’s a great way to meet new people, to live according to your own cadence, and to expose yourself to new situations. And it can be convenient and inexpensive. Still, unsuspecting travelers not willing to use their street smarts and precautionary gear expose themselves to unnecessary risks. Here are some of Stowaway’s favorite solo gadgets and safety tips to keep you unscathed and your friends and family worry free. —Sarah Juchau
A safety whistle.
A money pouch.
Sound silly? Remember that a lot of people dismiss yelling as a hoax. A series of whistle blows is more difficult to dismiss. A whistle is small and lightweight, so it won’t burden you while traveling, and it’s easy to use even if you are scared or out of breath. Staying in well-lit areas and knowing the territory you’re traveling in will also help you to stay out of unwanted situations.
Most money pouches are thin and can be worn under your clothing without any sign of a lump. A money pouch is a great way to keep valuables (cash, passport, plane, and train tickets) close at hand, rather than leaving them in a bag or in the hotel safe.
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A rubber doorstop.
Hotels and hostels almost always have locks on their doors, but a rubber doorstop under your door is an extra precaution that makes it very difficult to enter the room unsolicited. It’s also a good idea to stay with roommates and to establish clear expectations about who comes into the room and when. An established curfew may do even more good than a doorstop will.
A money card.
Avoid the risk (and the hassle) of cash by using a money card, available at most banks. You can load money onto the card via phone or online and then use the card at any venue in the world that accepts debit and credit cards. If your money card is lost or stolen, you can generally get a new one within one day.
Packing Smart with PackPoint No one likes realizing in the third hour of their international flight that they forgot to pack socks and underwear. With PackPoint, that will never happen again. PackPoint (packpnt.com) is an intelligent packing list builder for serious travelers. Available for iOS and Android devices, as well as Windows Phone, the app helps you organize what you need in your suitcase based on trip length, weather, and activities you’ve planned for your travels. The app is intuitive, and it remembers everything so that you don’t have to.
Check the Weather
PackPoint logs your destination and the length of your visit, then checks the weather forecast and climate of your destination, letting you know what climate to pack for.
Build a Custom Packing List
After PackPoint knows where you’re going, it asks a few questions before compiling your list: Are you traveling for business or leisure? Locally or internationally? Will you be flying, driving, cycling? Will you have access to laundry facilities? Who will be traveling with you? What do you plan to do while traveling? Will you have children with you? Plug in your answers and then access your customized packing list, which you can edit by adding items or removing what you don’t need.
Share with Other Travelers
After you’ve perfected your packing list, PackPoint allows you to share your list with others and tap into the community of travelers who—like you—want to avoid that forgotten socks-and-underwear feeling.
Benefit from the App
PackPoint really does think of everything so you don’t have to—it even reminds you about flight departure and arrival times and when to do your laundry. For any kind of traveler and any destination, PackPoint is a must-have app.
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Cultural Festivals around the World Want to feel at home in a new culture? Visit the following festivals around the world to learn how to dance, sing, eat, and enjoy like a local. These festivals celebrate traditions passed down through generations and are guaranteed to increase your appreciation and understanding of other cultures. —Naomi Clegg and Sarah Juchau
March 20–April 12, 2015
National Cherry Blossom Festival The US capital is never more beautiful than during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which commemorates the Tokyo mayor’s 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, DC. Soon after, the festival was implemented to celebrate the lasting friendship between Japan and the United States, as well as the millions of beautiful spring blossoms. Each year, festival-goers enjoy cultural dances and performances, fireworks, a parade, and even kite flying with locals. ▶▶
June 12–14, 2015
Gnaoua World Music Festival Essaouira, Morocco
Each year, musicians from all over the world gather in Morocco to celebrate African culture and music. Their specialty? Gnaouan music—the traditional music of sub-Saharan Africa. On the beaches of Essaouira, a scenic coastal town, artists fuse Gnaouan beats with jazz, hiphop, spiritual, and pop. Free concerts draw locals and tourists alike, and the spirit of Africa fills the air. ▶▶
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From left: photography by Kimberly Vardeman, Fabio Gismondi, Henri Laupmaa, and David Burke
Washington, DC, United States
July 23–26, 2015
Viljandi Folk Music Festival Viljandi, Estonia
The largest folk festival in northern Europe, the Viljandi Folk Music Festival rings with Estonian pride. During this four-day celebration of traditional music and culture, performing artists present contemporary renditions of traditional Estonian and European folk music. But attendees aren’t limited to watching and listening—they’re invited to join in the fun themselves through impromptu dances, games, and music making. Participants, over 20,000 annually, can also participate in workshops and a night university to learn more about Estonian culture.
From left: photography by Kimberly Vardeman, Fabio Gismondi, Henri Laupmaa, and David Burke
April 2–6, 2015
National Folk Festival
Canberra, Australia Over 50,000 people from around the world meet each year in Canberra to watch the fine-tuned choreography of folk dancers, tap to the beat of local music, and listen to the narratives of storytellers. More than 100 concerts and performances provide an insider view of the beauty and diversity of Australia’s local arts. Attendees can even participate in classes and learn folk traditions—Australian style. ▶▶
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“Is there anything you want to bring back?” My good friend asked the question a few hours before I left for my backpacking trip through Europe. I already knew the answer. I didn’t want to bring back souvenirs. I was looking forward to living out of a backpack—a chance not only to become acquainted with the European world but also to shake off the materialism that seems to grow on me like barnacles when I stay in the same place for too long. So when my friend asked me what I wanted to bring back from my trip, I already knew the answer: not a single thing. But as I answered, I realized my answer wasn’t true at all. I did want to bring something back. In fact, I wanted to bring a lot of things back. I wanted to bring so
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much back that there would barely be room for it. But I wanted stuff I couldn’t shove inside a backpack or mail home in a giant package. I wanted memories of meeting people and making friends, of adventures and eye-opening experiences, of sights and sounds that would take my breath away. But my friend’s question reminded me of something else—something far more important. Several years before this adventure, a man in Rome had shared an analogy with me. He’d described a trip to the airport where he had seen people huffing and puffing through the terminal, carrying luggage the size of a smart car just for a two-day vacation. He said it is human nature to carry around unneeded junk— physical, yes, but emotional and intellectual baggage too.
I suddenly knew I was carrying around a lot I didn’t need. My backpack was light, but my soul needed to put down some hefty, unwieldy baggage if I wanted to wander free. So when I stepped on the plane later that day, I made a resolution—a resolution to let go. The exhilaration I get while traveling comes in part because all the habits I use to autopilot my life have to be put aside so I can pay attention to what I’m experiencing as I step onto new ground. I feel so alive while traveling because I am forced to snap out of my comaof-a-comfort-zone life. I’m forced to adapt. Baggage, gone. Lightweight living, straight ahead. I decided, sitting on the plane, to embrace the no-baggage philosophy. And that European summer, my backpack stayed light—and so did my life.
Photo by Tanner Krolle
Leave Your Luggage
Discover your Ideal Destination Do you Spend your vacation . . .
shopping for new styles?
bright lights and a chic, modern vibe?
Is your idea of city living . . .
playing on a beach?
Are you afraid of . . .
From left: photography by Alan Turkus, Alpha 2008, Ryan M Bevan, gags9999, Moyan Brenn, and Inyucho
Would you rather . . .
see a Broadway play?
Do you spend free time . . .
watching the History Channel?
strolling through parks?
music and dance?
Did you pack . . .
Do you more enjoy . . .
watch a sumo wrestling match?
winding streets and an oldfashioned feel?
art and architecture?
a tank top?
New York City
Rio de Janeiro
A center of metropolitan activity, New York City is brimming with life, art, fashion, and entertainment. Visit Times Square, sail to the Statue of Liberty, travel around the city, and visit the array of shops filled with designer items. Even peoplewatching in Central Park can be an adventure.
Tokyo is one of the trendiest cities in the world. With its highly modern and technologyinfused culture, this fast-paced city will leave you breathless. Whether you’re out shopping, sampling sushi, or zooming from place to place on the metro, you’ll feel right at home in Tokyo.
Looking for a sunny vacation and a fabulous night life? Try Rio de Janeiro. Enjoy the Carnival celebrations and the busy, popular beaches. Check out the lively Saara shopping district and one of the seven world wonders: the Christ the Redeemer statue, which towers over the city.
Nestled between the most beautiful harbor in the world and the Great Outback, Sydney is exotic and diverse. Take a break and sunbathe on the beach with delicious food in hand, or head into the city to shop and see the city’s landmarks. You’ll love the feel of this multicultural city.
Rome is one of the hottest tourist destinations in history for good reason. Beautiful architecture, hundreds of art museums, fantastic food, and friendly people make people fall in love with Rome. You won’t regret experiencing the history of one of the greatest empires of all time.
Home to hundreds of museums, concert halls, and theaters, St. Petersburg is bursting with culture. Even in the cold of the winter, you can visit the gorgeous Catherine Palace, the Hermitage (one of the largest art museums in the world), and the famous Russian ballet.
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Parting Shot Dingle Peninsula, Ireland “The photo took itself. We stopped, I stepped off the bus, and I took the shot. Dingle is naturally this beautiful.” —Caroline Bliss Larsen Westminster, MD
90 ▶ spring 2015