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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oil Spill Hits the Great Barrier Reef

As if the Great Barrier Reef didn’t have enough problems! Dr. Charlie Veron, the former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, recently warned that the Great Barrier Reef will be “in tatters” by 2030, the result of global warming and rising sea temperatures. In fact, the Zoological Society of London feels the future of coral reefs is so bleak, they recently announced a plan to freeze samples in liquid nitrogen. Now comes news that a Chinese oil tanker slammed into the reef at top speed on April 3rd. The tanker has already leaked about two tons of oil, resulting in a three kilometer slick that could take years to clean up. Marine conservationists are particularly worried about turtles since it’s hatching season. What a way to be born into the world. Australian authorities have charged the captain for veering out of the shipping lane and running into the reef, but the damage is already done.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/15/10 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Washington DC for Families, Now an iPhone App

More and more of my travel writing buddies are entering into the world of iPhone apps, simply utilizing their expertise in another medium. Take my friend, Alistair Wearmouth, a writer and editor at Away.com who happens to be a parent living in the Washington, DC area. Few know the region better than him, so it makes perfect sense that he’s just come out with an app on the DC area for families. It includes more than 125 listings for the best places to sleep, eat, play, and visit, slideshows of over 1,000 photographs, and recommendations relative to your current GPS locale. Since Alistair has a love of the outdoors, many of the sites have an active component, like places to bring the kids to bike, paddle, and stroll in parks. Cost is a measly $1.99.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/01/10 at 12:58 PM
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Viva Italia!

Maybe it’s the lure of Italian cooking, the chance to finally see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican in Rome, biking through the countryside of Tuscany, or driving along the spectacular Amalfi coastline, that has made Italy such a hot destination in 2010. I just received a call from Go Ahead Tours in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who noted that bookings are up a remarkable 55% on trips to Italy compared to last year.  So much, in fact, that they decided to host an event on April 10th called “A Taste of Tuscany in Boston.” On hand will be best-selling author Frances Mayes, who’s releasing her new book, “Every Day in Tuscany.” Italian food and wine will also be presented. Join in the festivities at the EF Center on 1 Education Street in Cambridge from 2-5 pm. Save a spot by remembering to RSVP.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/31/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, March 19, 2010

First Descents

I’m in the midst of writing a feature story on Colorado Adventure for Air Tran’s inflight magazine, covering mountain biking, hiking, and white water kayaking. I just got off the phone with Boulder-based Brad Ludden, a world champion freestyle kayaker who had the chutzpah to kayak down more than 100 rivers that have never been paddled on before. This includes a recent a four-day first descent down a river in Madagascar, where he came very close to losing his best friend in a huge rapid. Now 29, when Brad was 18, he started a charity organization named First Descents that helps empower 18 to 39-year olds who are battling cancer. So far, more than 600 people have done the program which, like Outward Bound, helps folks gain confidence through outdoor adventure like white water kayaking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. The program has succeeded far better than Brad ever imagined, with more than 400 people now on the waiting list. As he mentioned to me, “Mother Nature doesn’t really care if you have cancer or not. We’re all on an even playing field.” All of the adventures are offered for free, thanks to the support of donations by the public at First Descents.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/19/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A New Website that Provides Travelers with Peace of Mind

My brother once had his passport stolen in Turkey and was forced to spend the next month in the country before he was handed a new passport and could leave. He ended up having the time of his life and making lifelong friends, but that’s beside the point. A lost or stolen passport can cause a lot of stress. Just ask my wife who lost her passport on a train behind communist lines in the old East Germany. She was booted off the train and, unlike my brother, did not make any lifelong friends. Now entering the travel world is accessMYID.com, a new website that stores all pertinent travel information like a copy of that passport, travel visas, health insurance cards, and necessary prescriptions. Much like my beloved Carbonite backs up my hard drive, this website will store all travel info for a yearly fee that’s as low as twenty bucks a year. That seems like a low price to pay to offset a potential heart attack.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/10/10 at 02:00 PM
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Monday, March 01, 2010

Free Travel Advice to All Military Personnel on Leave

Over the years, I’ve given travel advice to friends, family, neighbors, editors, strangers, you name it. Once people know you’re a travel writer, the questions quickly follow. And believe me, I’m happy to point folks in the right direction. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But I was stunned and delighted to get the following email:

Hello Steve, hope you don't mind me contacting you. I am a US Army soldier currently serving in Iraq, and hope to be home in 2 months after being gone for 8. I would love to take my very hard working wife (also active duty US Army) and 3 young daughters (7,4,2) on a warm beach vacation somewhat near our suburban Maryland home. I read your great review, and the only caveat is that my wife has a security clearance that makes it difficult to plan travel out of the US on short notice. I was thinking the US VI or possibly Puerto Rico and wondered what you thought. We have taken one cruise, Disney out of Canaveral and absolutely loved it. We all love water and beaches, so thought that something all-inclusive in a warm destination that didn't require passports would be ideal. We lived in Hawaii for 3 years before the children, and even though my wife thinks the 12 hour flight is doable, I think something in our local area w/ less flight time would be better. Thanks so much.

To which I responded:

Thanks for being in touch!  I'm happy to be of assistance. I would scratch Hawaii--too far a trek for the 2 and 4-year old. And let's be real. Do you really want to go to Hawaii with the kids? I love St. John in the USVI. See if you can a good rate at the Westin, http://www.westinresortstjohn.com. Do you know of any military discounts at hotels? That might help. Disney Cruises are always a safe bet for your kids. So is Royal Caribbean. But make sure your wife can get off at the Caribbean islands. Otherwise it's not worth it. Also, don't blow off Florida. If you're thinking about taking your vacation in April, Florida is warm that time of year. I love Sanibel Island, outside of Fort Myers. Another favorite trip when our kids were your age was San Diego. You can hit Legoland, the San Diego Zoo, maybe even cruise up to Anaheim to go to Disneyland, and hit the beaches in Coronado and Pacific Beach.

He liked my San Diego idea and I was happy to help. So much so that I’m offering free travel advice to any military personnel going on leave!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/01/10 at 02:00 PM
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Go Galavanting

There was a time when Kim Mance was behind the scenes, working as a travel columnist for Marie Claire magazine. But ever since she launched her Galavanting travel show on the web in 2008, she’s been front and center, bringing us around the world as host.  Together with her fashion-conscious cohort Maren Hogan, they venture everywhere from Roatan, Honduras, to Hokkaido Island in Japan, trying the food, sampling the clubs, and, most enjoyable, experiencing the adventure. In Costa Rica, they go rappelling down a waterfall and in an upcoming webisode on Colorado, you can find Kim ice climbing. “I thought I was going to hit myself in the head with the ice pick. But thankfully those crampons are more stable than you think they’ll be,” Manse says with a chuckle. The show has been a surprise hit on the web, with Manse currently in talks to bring Galavanting to one of the networks. Take a glance at Manse hiking deep in the rainforest of Costa Rica and you quickly understand why viewers find the active lifestyle so appealing.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/19/10 at 02:00 PM
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shackleton’s 1914 Adventure in Antarctica Recreated by A Puppet Troupe

Combine marionettes with live music composed by the Kronos Quartet and you get a smaller-than-life reenactment of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 trans-Antarctic expedition. Called 69 Degrees South: The Shackleton Project, the play is created by the puppet theater company, Phantom Limb, and will be shown at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts on Saturday, March 13 at 8 pm. It will attempt to recreate the true story of Shackleton and his brave men trapped in an ice floe for 497 days, a remarkable story of survival that lends itself well to an intriguing night with puppets.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/16/10 at 02:00 PM
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Tweet, Tweet For a Free Trip to Africa

If you still haven’t signed up for a Twitter account, we have a great reason to join.  Acacia Africa is featuring a “Wild Tweep” competition, where one lucky winner will walk away with a 6-day African Insight overland safari. Simply fill out the Q&A and confirm that you can give them 20 minutes of your time for a live “tweet up” on Acacia Africa’s twitter page (Friday, February 26th, from 1 to 1:20pm London time). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to answer questions on South Africa and tell us why you can’t get enough of the Rainbow Nation. Completed Q&As should be emailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Entries are being accepted until February 12th.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/29/10 at 02:00 PM
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Go Dutch

I just received this promo from the Netherlands Board of Tourism. Starting a week from today, February 4th, you can click on www.holland.com and enter to win such prizes as a monthly delivery of fresh tulips for a year, a Dutch bicycle, an iconic piece of Dutch furniture, even a diamond made in Amsterdam. The biggest prize is two round trip, KLM business class tickets to Amsterdam, given to the person who sends in the most creative photograph under the heading “Just be. In Holland.” While there, take that Dutch bicycle on the country’s increasingly popular biking and barge trips. The beauty of these bike trips is that unlike a typical inn-to-inn biking trip, you don’t have to pack your bags every morning to check in at the new night’s lodging. The barge follows you along the route, so you’ll be staying in the same berth the entire trip.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/28/10 at 02:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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