By Laurie McAndish King
Listen to talks with a futurist, ecologists, ranchers, vintners, community organizers, the co-founder of The Ethical Traveler, a Yale World Fellow, and the first woman to row a boat single-handedly across three oceans.
Destination InsightsApr 15, 2022
Foraging on the California Coast—How to Find Food and Friendship in the Forest
I went foraging recently—for food—on the California coast with Caitlin Wild of Mountain Soul Adventures. We said hello to two dozen plant-friends like mushrooms, wild strawberry and western hazelnut. Afterward we talked about what we mean when we say something is “edible,” what medicinal plants do, how to harvest and eat foraged plants, and how to stay safe when foraging for food.
Caitlin has a few surprises, like a plant that indigenous Americans used to carry embers from place to place, and another plant that came to her rescue once—and may have even saved her life. Caitlin also discusses connectedness, gratitude, eco-therapy, community and the profound awakening she experienced in her early 30s, when she was called onto be a bridge to the wild world. We talk about the way plants can remind us of our connectedness to the rest of the living world, and powerful ways plants and the Earth can help heal us.
Linda Watanabe McFerrin on Travel Writing and Risk
Linda Watanabe McFerrin is a travel writer, novelist, poet, and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and anthologies. Here we discuss some of the more subtle aspects of travel writing: crossing boundaries, the idea of place as a character, why we should not try to fit in when we travel, and how to get risk onto the page.
McFerrin’s new book, Navigating the Divide, from Alan Squire Publishing’s “Legacy Series” of writers with cross-genre works, is a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist.
Taiwan: A Beautiful Island Rediscovered
Taiwan, named Isla Formosa or “Beautiful Island” by the Portuguese, is known for friendly people, tasty cuisine, and inspiring scenery. Listen in to learn how to petition the Moon Elder for a new relationship, why some riders think the bullet train is too smooth, how a sub-tropical climate affects whiskey-making, and how Taiwan’s annual Lantern Festival is becoming one of the world’s preeminent celebrations. You’ll hear the famous changing of the guard ceremony and find out how to toast in Taiwanese, too.
Perry Garfinkel on the Benefits of “Travel Writer’s Mindset”
What do travel writing and Buddhism have in common? How can a “travel writer’s mindset” extend your vacation and make it more enjoyable? Why does a professional travel writer recommend modeling after the masters—and stealing freely? And what did Perry Garfinkel steal from Woody Allen?
Learn all this and more from Garfinkel, a New York Times contributor, travel writing teacher and author of Buddha or Bust: In Search of Truth, Meaning, Happiness, and the Man Who Found Them All and Travel Writing for Profit and Pleasure.
Jeff Greenwald on Ethical Travel and Science Fiction
Writer, photographer, performer and activist Jeff Greenwald is a co-founder of Ethical Traveler and has published six travel books. He tells us about the creation of the Ethical Traveler — inspired by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi — and its impact on issues ranging from the Tasmanian logging industry to the Cambodian sex-slave trade.
Greenwald also talks about the world’s best ethical travel destinations and offers ideas for ways individual travelers can be more attuned to sustainability. We hear how Jeff chooses his book topics, the ways in which his love for science fiction has influenced his travel writing, and his most recent assignment — a road trip on a high-performance all-electric motorcycle (a great trip except for Jeff’s accidentally amputated fingertip). Jeff’s bestselling book, Shopping for Buddhas, was recently re-released in a 25th anniversary edition.
David Farley Searches for the Holy Foreskin
David Farley, travel writer and author of An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town, is an instructor at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers conference (as well as at NYU and Columbia University). Farley tells us how he researched his book — the true story of his search for a unique holy relic, the foreskin of Jesus, which went missing from an Italian church under mysterious circumstances. (Check out the National Geographic special about Farley and his search for the holy foreskin.)
Farley also considers what makes good travel writing, ways to use a quest, and how to approach writing story leads. And he seduces us with visions of his extensive collection of 19th-century wooden legs.
Catherine Karnow’s Travel Photography Insights
National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow discusses her approach to composing photos, tips for photographing people, and how to communicate with photo subjects who speak another language.
We hear about the surprising and deeply moving experiences Catherine has had photographing victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. She also tells us about her photoworkshops in Italy and Vietnam — which sound like a blast, with lots of opportunities for interacting with locals, as well as ready-made photoshoot set-ups, great food, and Catherine’s expert instruction. Check out her beautiful book, Vietnam: 25 Years Documenting a Changing Country.
Marianne Bohr’s Expert Travel Tips
When Marianne Bohr was 55 she took time off work to have a “Senior Year Abroad” with her husband, Joe. The two had planned their trip for 30 years, ever since backpacking together in Europe after college. Marianne not only traveled the world, she also wrote a book about it, called Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer Adventure Across 21 Countries. The book reads like a personal travel narrative, with details about the places Marianne and Joe saw. By the end I was not only informed and inspired — I was ready to take my own gap year.
Find out how Marianne planned for such a dramatic change and what her advice is for people who have a dream of traveling extensively. We discuss packing essentials, traveling in countries where you don’t speak the language, readjusting when you return home, and much more.