From the monthly archives:

January 2010

Welcome To The Jungle: These Survival Classes Include Lots Of Tasty Grub(s)

by Alan Rider

While searching out and reporting on novel once-in-a-lifetime adventures is both my passion and my profession, there are honestly some experiences I’m all too happy to leave to someone else.
Like my friend and fellow travel writer Bob Howells, for example, who decided it might be fun to spend a week learning traditional survival skills from a native guide in the depths of the Amazon jungle.  The results were equal parts amazing and amusing as the hero of our story, equipped with little more than a machete and a smile, slowly came to understand what the brochure actually meant when it promised “rustic accommodations and lots of tasty grubs” (see [...]

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Three Places to OD On Chocolate

by Alan Rider

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I got to wondering whether it was actually possible to have too much chocolate.

Well, I did a little digging and found these three extraordinary experiences that will let you test that theory—I know, tough job, but somebody has to do it—by sampling a ridiculously wide range of indulgences produced from the seeds of the lowly cacao tree:
A Chocolate-Covered Month
Hershey, Pennsylvania—the self-proclaimed “Sweetest Place On Earth”—is offering hundreds of chocolate-themed activities this February, ranging from family-friendly Chocolate Lab experiences that allow you to whip up your own tasty treats to romantic multi-course chocolate-themed dinners.  To say nothing of the Spa at the Hotel Hershey, [...]

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Finances, Fitness, And Fear: Overcoming Obstacles Between You & Your Next Big Adventure

by Alan Rider

If you’ve been putting off your next big adventure because of the steep price tag, you might want to take a minute to check out this great post on National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog.
The reason I bring this up is because “I can’t afford it” is one of the most common objections I hear when I ask people what’s keeping them from making their dream trip a reality.  But personal experience has taught me that this issue of finances—along with two other frequently-cited deal-breakers I call fitness and fear—are a lot easier to overcome than most of us might believe.
To illustrate my point, I thought I’d take a minute to [...]

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Want Your Share Of The New California Gold Rush?

by Alan Rider

There are certain moments in history I would love to have been present at.  Not the least of which is the frosty morning of January 24, 1848 when carpenter James Marshall found those first few gold nuggets just downstream from the sawmill he was building on American River.
That’s because it was this chance discovery that started the California Gold Rush.  An event that quite literally made the Golden State what it is today.
But you probably knew that already, didn’t you? Well here’s something you might not know:  There’s still plenty of gold in the cold, clear creeks of those Sierra Nevada foothills, just sitting there waiting for someone to [...]

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Why Just Read About History When You Can Live It?

by Alan Rider

While you don’t necessarily want to see your kids jumping out of airplanes (at least I don’t), there are still an awful lot of extraordinary experiences that are decidedly family-friendly.
I was reminded of this while helping my son with his history project this week.  Despite the fact that he goes to a great school with some really innovative teachers, I was struck by how even the most creative approaches can still make the subject seem way too abstract to really grab and hold kids attention.
Which is why I thought I’d take a minute to turn you on to three remarkable adventures that are pretty much guaranteed to make those history [...]

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3 Ways To Sleep Cheap

by Alan Rider

In the two decades I’ve spent traveling the world to dig up new and unusual experiences for my readers, I’ve spent the night in everything from ridiculously expensive hotels where my personal butler left plush slippers next to the bed each evening to low-budget motels with filthy orange shag carpet so gross I was afraid to take my shoes off.  And here’s what I learned:  That it usually doesn’t make much sense to shell out a ton of dough for a room where all I’m going to do is sleep and shower.
Fortunately for frugal types like me, there are more affordable lodging options out there than ever before.  Which brings [...]

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Sasquatch Sightings

by Alan Rider

Is it just me, or have there been a lot more Bigfoot sightings lately? From starring roles in television commercials to this guy who thought it’d be funny to don his Sasquatch suit and startle a few unsuspecting hikers, it seems like the legendary ape-man is getting more media exposure than he’s seen in decades.
While this famous footage definitely set the hook in me back in 1967, I’m not ready to declare that bigfoot exists.  That said, I’ve also spent enough time in remote corners of this country to believe there are still plenty of places where the big hairy lout could be hiding.
And it’s that sense of possibility that [...]

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