Dan Forth blogs about the world of travel as he sees it.
Travel and technology walk hand in hand. From Ipads to laptops, James DeRuvo gives us the latest on technology for the mobile world.

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Gary McKechnie Author Of Great American Motorcycle Tours Talks About The Open Road

Image 1It’s time to hit the road.  Gary McKechnie, the author of the best-selling guidebook Great American Motorcycle Tours  joins Paul and Elizabeth to chat about touring by motorcycle and the joys and challengers. Bored with his 9-to-5 job, McKechnie sold his house and set out to write America’s first nationwide motorcycle touring guidebook, embarking on an 18-month journey across the United States. He shares tips for beginner riders, as well as other advice on touring the country. Here he talks about the logistics of his travels and also the joys of discovery.

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Livescribe Is Technology In Your Hand That Saves Time And Effort

sky_wifi_smartpen_heroBryan Rodrigues talks with Paul about Livescribe. A product best described by what it does. At school or work the notes that you take are recorded and placed in a file for reference. Want to check on a fact your noted. Just tap on the place in your written notes and you can hear what was being said. You can create audio transcripts of all your notes if you wish. Livescribe has produced a pencast especially for OnTravel that illustrates just how valuable a tool it can be for travelers. This one is Italy-themed, and we included some examples of how travelers can utilize the smartpen by creating a sample pencast for a fictional trip to Florence, just click on the stars:

https://www.livescribe.com/int/player/lsnotesdesktop.htm?cak=180ff300f8bd96ad;docId=2074911;pageId=107865591

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Author And Traveler Jeff Greenwald Talks About Burning Man And Other Travels

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Jeff Greenwald joins Paul and Elizabeth to talk about this year’s Burning Man in Nevada. This gathering of thousands on a dry lake in Northern Nevada has become one of the premier art events in the world. Its sells out and while not for everyone, it’s become an annual celebration of all facets of artistic expression. And each year, the giant construction at the center of it all ends in flames, hence the Burning Man. Greenwald reveals that once over, absolutely nothing remains to mar the desert landscape on the dry lake. Of course until a new man is built the next year. Jeff’s latest work is his book, Snake Lake, about the uprising in the nineties in Nepal. Jeff has a particular affinity for the peaks of the Himalaya and Kathmandu, Nepal, and his powerful narrative brings perspective to this area. Jeff’s other passion can be found in the world of ethical travel. Check out the website for more information on a topic we all need to spend more time thinking about and planning our travels accordingly. Jeff blogs regularly and you can find his writing about travels, art and people at Jeff Greeenwald.com.

 

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Marybeth Bond Talks About Snorkeling With Belugas And Walking With Polar Bears

2013-07-23 17.57.21 (640x480)Marybeth Bond, author of Gutsy Women, chats with Paul and Elizabeth about her recent adventure in Canada, where she snorkeled with beluga whales and got close to polar bears. Bond has visited more than 90 countries and has produced 11 books about woman’s travel. She brings her insightful observations, her enthusiasm, and her sense of humor to any excursion. Check out her website and blog. Here’s an excerpt.

Less than an hour after we landed at the remote lodge on Hudson Bay, we saw our first polar bear. In fact, it was a cuddly-looking mother and cub who lumbered along the shoreline. We photographed them from the safety of the lodge windows and settled in for a “safety talk” before we headed out onto the Arctic tundra to track the bear on foot.

Safety? Our guides had over 15 years of combined experience with polar bears and you know it when they talk about the bears’ behavior, how close to get and how to read the bear’s body language. They carry ample deterrents such as guns,  bear pepper spray and a radio. Their expertise and presence put me at ease. We never left the lodge without the armed guides.

“Polar bears  move as if the country has belonged to them always.”
John Muir, on a visit to the Arctic in 1899

Seal River Heritage Lodge, one of the Churchill Wild lodges, is located right on the shoreline of Western Hudson Bay (about 59′ north latitude) – a true wilderness location many miles from any human habitation, roads, electrical wires, boats, planes or trains. Churchill Wild is a pioneer in the realm of summer walking safaris to photograph bears and snorkel with beluga whales. Read More: 

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Gary Arndt Wraps His Caribbean Expedition And Talks Luggage

Gary Arndt HeadshotGary Arndt chats with Paul as he wraps up his travels in the Caribbean. They talk travel, political logistics and luggage. He blogs extensively about the trip at Everything-Everywhere.com. This is a short excerpt.

“I have finally finished with my island hopping trip through the Caribbean. I thoroughly enjoyed it even though the logistics were often a giant pain. I have a post in the works about how you can actually do an island hopping trip of your own, but suffice it to say it is far more difficult than it should be given how close together the islands are. Not surprisingly, the reason involved politics and money. The islands themselves were fantastic. I have so much to say, and I’ll soon have my photos edited and I’ll start posting more about the region. I’m currently in Wisconsin for two more weeks catching up on things and taking care of business that I can only do when I’m here. (Banking, etc.).

My travel plans for the next two months are now pretty set. Here is where I’ll be through the first week in November:”  read more here

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Book Passage’s Elaine Petrocelli Talks Travel Books

Elaine Petrocelli

Elaine Petrocelli

Elaine Petrocelli is co-founder and president of one of the top bookstores in the West. Book Passage is a center for world famous authors to come and sign new books but also Elaine points out that the store is noted for discovering authors that later gain world wide fame and win major literary prizes. The store is successful in a day when book stores are getting rarer. It engages the community and also hosts a series of conferences through the year featuring writers at all stages of the craft. She talks with Paul and Elizabeth about the 22nd Travel Writers and Photographers conference and how it has grown and become a place where new writers are encouraged.

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Dennis Palumbo’s Mystery Novel Night Terrors As Travel Guide To Pittsburgh

Dennis PalumboMystery novelist Dennis Palumbo joins Paul and Elizabeth to discuss his novel, Night Terrors as a travel guide to Pittsburgh. He evokes a sense of place that allows readers to follow the action in actual locales in the city he clearly loves. Dennis provides a short essay about the idea of place in his mystery Daniel Rinaldi series.

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (My Favorite Year; Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), Dennis Palumbo is a licensed psychotherapist and author of Writing From the Inside Out. He also blogs regularly for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand, and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime. His acclaimed series of mystery thrillers (Mirror Image, Fever Dream, and the latest,  Night Terrors), feature Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist who consults with the Pittsburgh Police.

What do the recent films Unstoppable, The Dark Knight Rises, and Jack Reacher have in common? They were all primarily shot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and environs. Why? Probably because of its undoubted cinematic appeal. Pittsburgh has a sprawling network of ethnic neighborhoods, steep hills and rolling streets, venerable buildings and parks, and the famous Three Rivers. Not to mention some handsome tax breaks provided by the state for today’s filmmakers.

These same vivid, colorful traits (minus the tax breaks) hold true for a spate of recent novels, particularly mysteries and thrillers, set in the Steel City. Authors such as Kathleen George, Thomas Lipinksi, and K.C. Constantine have made good use of Western Pennsylvania’s unique flavors and tints, and of the cluster of small, industrially-depleted towns that surround the urban core.

I must admit, I’m prejudiced about Pittsburgh as a setting for mysterious goings-on. I was born and raised there, and graduated from Pitt. Though I’ve lived in Los Angeles for many years, the city still exerts a powerful pull on my memory. Which is why, when deciding on a setting for my own series of mystery thrillers, I chose my home town.

But not just for nostalgia’s sake. Pittsburgh’s an amazing place, an amalgam of old and new, a shot-and-a-beer town colliding with the Information Age. The steel mills I used to toil in during summers between college semesters are all gone; in their place are sleek, modern buildings where software designers and MBAs work. Run-down sections of the city have been gentrified, with the higher real estate values and tony shops that signify such startling changes. With its huge financial endowments—-from such fabled families as the Mellons, Carnegies, and Heinzs—-Pittsburgh’s become known as much for its state-of-the-art universities, museums and hospitals as for its sports teams. As well as its innovation. For example, it’s currently the world’s pioneer in nanotechnology.

In many ways, it truly represents the transformation of blue collar into white collar. Except that the vestiges of the old Pittsburgh I grew up in are still felt around the edges, still apparent in the weathered turn-of-the-century buildings, the ethnic neighborhoods, the immigrant values and loyalties.

Traits I know about all too well. As a child, my parents were horrified when they learned that, during lunch at school, I’d often trade my homemade fried eggplant sandwiches for more “American” peanut butter-and-jelly. Now, an adult visitor to Pittsburgh will find gentrified, trendy restaurants where similar classic Italian food is highly prized (and over-priced).

As mentioned, I worked for two summers at J&L Steel Works, part of seventeen miles of steel mills that no longer exist. Along with my fellow students, I wore the traditional yellow hard hat that marked me as a newbie. And made us a much more convenient target for the soda bottles, tuna fish cans and other refuse dropped on us from above by the crane operators. Part of the blue-collar way of life in the mill back in the sixties, as were the ethnically-separated work crews and the occasional visits by Teamsters, unloading “misplaced” goods from the backs of trucks. Then there were the longed-for breaks from the mill’s relentless heat, when, having fallen into an uneasy truce, we college kids and veteran mill hunks sat together on the tar-paper roof, overlooking the Monongahela River, drinking Cokes and listening to Pirates games on transistor radios.

For better or worse, that Pittsburgh, like its steel mills, is pretty much gone. No better example comes to mind than when my mother’s brain tumor was removed last year by a radical new surgery in a world-famous hospital unit, one of whose previous patients was the Dalai Lama. Part of a complex of new buildings—like so many springing up in the urban core—whose construction required the demolition of the older ones which had stood before.

No matter how welcomed or needed, change comes with a psychic cost. This is as true for a city as it is for an individual. I believe it’s certainly true for Pittsburgh. And it’s this tension between old and new, darkness and light, that makes it a fascinating place, and a great environment for a murder mystery. As more and more authors are beginning to discover, as they lead their characters down the mean streets of Pittsburgh…

 

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Gary Arndt Explores The Caribbean’s Little-known Treasures

EasterIsland Gary ArndtGlobal Travel Correspondent, Gary Arndt checks in from Saba in the Caribbean as he explores both well-known and little-known islands on his global odyssey. Check out his blog at everything-everywhere.com for more on Gary’s travels.

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Book Passage Writers Conference Helps Travel Writers

Don George 2013Author and editor Don George joins Paul to talk about the upcoming Book Passage travel writers and photographers conference and workshop. Designed to help both established writers and newbies develop the art and craft of travel writing, the conference enters it’s second decade of helping writers. This year Elizabeth Harryman joins the faculty and she tells us about some of the  things she has learned as a leading editor.

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Fido’s Best Friend Is DogTrekker.Com And A Bone

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERADog Trekker is simply the most reliable of dozens if not hundreds of websites devoted to traveling with fido. Most importantly, everything on the site is vetted by not only travel experts but dog experts who are familiar with the local region it covers in California. And most important of all is Kayla, shown here at Nick’s Cove, Marshall, CA, who is better known as K.K. She has traveled the state, and beyond, and given her bark of approval to dog friendly hotels, restaurants, beaches, lakes, wineries, boats, trains, stores, ballparks and much more. She gives her personal approval to her favorite ‘4-paws up’ experiences as determined by her wags/minute and smiles/mile. DogTrekker.com is gearing up for a summer of fun for fido and the website is packed with suggestions for places to go and even tips for staying healthy and avoiding nasties like rattlesnakes.

As the weather warms, rattlesnakes come out of hiding—and sometimes into the path of dogs and their people. Although they are inherently shy and will get out of your (and Fido’s) way if they sense your approach, rattlers strike when provoked, and curious dogs who don’t know the consequences can provoke merely by investigating the source of an unfamiliar smell. Snakebite prevention should be on the mind of anyone who ventures into nature with a dog. If the two of you spend a lot of time hiking or hunting, you may want to check into the benefits of formal aversion training. Rattlesnake aversion training (also called “snake-break” or snake avoidance training) isn’t fun for you or your dog read more: