Browsing All Posts filed under »Travel«

Joan Larsen’s Sleigh Full of Holiday Ideas: Turning Your Selection of Christmas Gifts into Lifelong Memories

November 29, 2017

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by Joan Larsen   Aren’t the feelings of warmth, of joy and laughter .  .  . but, most of all, of love – what the holidays truly are supposed to be?  Shouldn’t the element of togetherness be forefront in this season?  I think we are all nodding yes.  I am sure you are. But instead, […]

Joan Larsen Presents: An Island is Born

November 15, 2017

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By Joan Larsen The ocean off Iceland was fairly calm fifty years ago when a fishing boat spotted fire in the distance.  In this empty ocean, it would have to have been another fishing boat burning to cause such color in the skies.  The crew sped toward the scene, only to see a volcano arising […]

Joan Larsen’s Secret Wonders: Get Lost in Iceland

November 8, 2017

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By Joan Larsen So close yet so remote. So magnificent that it beats out all comers on our planet. Until now, it has been my own secret hideaway on this earth – Iceland, the magnificent. For years, Iceland has drawn me back again and again like a magnet.   And once you too have received the […]

Wayne Ranney: A Place that Inspires Superlatives – Cambodia’s Angkor Wat

October 25, 2017

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By Wayne Ranney     It is with the greatest pleasure I once again introduce you to Wayne Ranney — famed geologist – who we once again find as Guest Lecturer on one of National Geographic’s extraordinary Private Journeys this Fall.   This round-the-world one-month journey finds the group uncovering treasures of our world that many of […]

Joan Larsen’s Tales From the Deep: Midnight on the Arctic Ocean

October 18, 2017

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by Joan Larsen This is the northern tip of Iceland at midnight.  Winter there is total darkness for eight months.  In summer the children of Iceland can be seen enjoying the midnight sun until all hours in bright sun – for there is no night.  .  . so why shouldn’t the two of us do the same?  Before us — the fabled […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: A Landscape of Superlatives – A First Look at Yosemite

October 11, 2017

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by Joan Larsen Only a morning’s drive from San Francisco lies one of the world’s truly great wilderness areas – a place of plunging waterfalls, snow-capped lakes, stark stone cliffs of stunning beauty, and a natural cathedral of ancient Sequoia trees that are among the largest on Earth. Its name: Yosemite National Park, its beauty […]

Joan Larsen’s Far Out Adventures: Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place in America’s Southwest

October 4, 2017

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By Joan Larsen   Reimagine a walk in the park… as we all know that the wonderful feeling we get when we “discover” the incredibly beautiful places in our world that just may take us a few steps off the beaten path — or the paved road.  In the Americas, I have kept the national […]

Joan Larsen’s High Adventure: The Good, the Bad, and the Grizzly

September 20, 2017

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All of those traveling to Alaska’s Denali National Park are given “the lecture” by a park ranger before setting out, warning about the dangers of hiking alone and the distance that must be kept between you and a grizzly to be safe.  Unfortunately, the bears do not receive the lecture.  It is where they live […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Gorillas in Our Midst

September 13, 2017

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By Joan Larsen   The world is still in semi-darkness when we were awakened at 6am in the almost unknown country of Africa’s Rwanda, settled into vehicles, and off to what can only be described as one of the most magical encounters on our planet. To be honest, I do not believe I slept last […]

Joan Larsen’s Most Breathtaking Moments in Travel: Killer Whales Come Up for Air

August 30, 2017

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By Joan Larsen It’s a rare moment to capture: whales taking a breather as they swim under polar ice. ANTARCTICA – In the Ross Sea portion of Antarctica, the American McMurdo base has been clothed in darkness for six months. Those “wintering over” spend that time frozen in by the ice until the spring months of […]

Joan Larsen’s Adventures: Exploring Australia’s Land of the Never-Never

August 23, 2017

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By Joan Larsen Flying by small plane, low over Australia’s Northern Territory, we are present- day Crocodile Dundees, wanting to be one of the first to go exploring a desert world that most travelers will never see. Our delightful, agreeable pilot seemed more than happy to chase down the only large inhabitants in the empty […]

Fun and Disaster with Foreign Languages

August 21, 2017

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I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. “This book was expensive!” he said.  “I’m sorry,” I replied, “but we just don’t talk like that.” Language-translating machines like Google Translate or Babelfish are handy for small, simple things like finding a bathroom, but they are no replacement for a fluent, bilingual human being.   Just […]

Joan Larsen’s Favorite Retreats: Flying Low and Slow Over Glorious Sedona

August 16, 2017

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An Arizona landscape to take your breath away By Joan Larsen There are some places in our world that take our breath away in ways unexplainable – but we find their visual beauty forever lodged in our hearts.  And so it is with the town of Sedona, with its red rock canyons and sunsets so […]

Joan Larsen’s Scariest Climb: Reaching for Heaven on Angel’s Landing

August 9, 2017

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By Joan Larsen The scariest climb It is no secret to my friends that I absolutely live for adventure…  so yes, over the years I have done more than my share of climbing to the heights in so many places in the world.  “But what was the most difficult, the most scary, the most life-threatening […]

Joan Larsen’s World: Close Encounters of the Grizzly Kind in America’s National Parks

August 2, 2017

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By Joan Larsen     August, 2015, Yellowstone National Park … and yet another hiker dead, killed and mostly eaten by a grizzly bear while hiking in the Park. The man, an experienced hiker, actually worked in the park and knew its dangers. Hiking alone especially is not recommended. All visitors are instructed to carry […]

Joan Larsen on the Trail of Mexico’s Hidden Secrets: Swimming With Whale Sharks

July 26, 2017

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By Joan Larsen Excitement reigned as our small plane seemed to skim the clear waters of the almost unknown islet off Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula — called Isla Holbox (pronounced Hol-Bosh).  A bit of  paradise, I thought, . . . and when the pilot further whetted our appetites by saying that the blue waters below were […]

Joan Larsen’s Hidden Wonders: The “Must-See” French Gardens of Marqueyssac

July 19, 2017

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by Joan Larsen   The French are good at keeping secrets.   .  . and it has taken me years to discover France’s southwest region of Dordogne with its spectacular panoramas in every direction.  But it is here that one of the most beautiful and romantic gardens of France is located. Sitting high above the Dordogne […]

Joan Larsen’s Secret Places: My Glorious Love Affair in Zermatt

July 12, 2017

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By Joan Larsen An unusual love story – the kind you hope for, dream of – has to have had “beginnings”. My mother’s dreams for her only daughter were not wealth and fame. She was a romantic, believing – showing – that when you had love, combined with a romantic life, that life could be […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: The World’s Most Spectacular Road – America’s Big Sur, Up Close and Personal

July 5, 2017

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By Joan Larsen We needed to have our breath taken away by an array of magnificent scenery, of stunning beauty that cannot be equaled – anywhere. We all seem to need beautiful “getaways” from the world we live in now.  And so, with a truly wonderful lifetime of adventures ‘round the world,  again we searched […]

Joan Larsen in Wildest Africa: Climbing the Dune

June 28, 2017

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By Joan Larsen As a child, I whirled the big round globe that graced our living room, with a single finger choosing the countries I would go to when I grew up.  For so many of us, the pictures in National Geographic  fed our dreams… dreams that danced in our heads, refusing to go away.  […]

Joan Larsen’s Summer Dream: A Hidden Getaway at the Lake House

June 21, 2017

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By Joan Larsen I believe down deep we are all alike. Deep inside us, unbidden thoughts take over our quiet moments in the early darkness of winter. The two of us find ourselves talking – the kind of conversation that usually comes late in the evening when the lights are low. It is then we […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: The Midwest’s Wondrous Hidden Getaway – The American Club

June 7, 2017

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By Joan Larsen   More often than we might admit, we find we need a change from the “every day” that has felt – well, often mundane.  A “jump-start” is truly what we need… and perhaps, just a little time “away” would do a world of good.  A special hand-picked getaway, one not too long […]

Joan Larsen’s Secret Wonders: The Good Life – My Hidden Hideaway in Denali

May 31, 2017

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By Joan Larsen “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young  again—to slow time down and fall in love with life once more.”  — Pico Iver   Once in a while in our travels, […]

Joan Larsen Introduces Friar Moustache: The Stray Dog Adopted as the Newest Friar in a Bolivian Monastery

May 17, 2017

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From Joan Larsen, a story to delight you ! Meet Friar Bigotón (Friar Moustache), the stray schnauzer, who just became a member of the St. Francis Monastery in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The saint, after which the Franciscan order was established, is known as the patron saint of animals there.  So it is only natural that the […]

Joan Larsen’s Favorite Travel Moments Above San Francisco: Communing With Giants — A Most Magical Day Spent in California’s Muir Woods

May 10, 2017

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 By Joan Larsen   2017 . . . and, with it, still another return journey to the West in early spring – to The City By The Bay, San Francisco. Once again the city has exceeded my expectations. It always does. That city pulls out all stops – and then continually adds some more – – […]

Jeanne Henriques: Lounging on a Private Longboat – A Woman’s Extraordinary Photo Journey In Gorgeous Laos

May 3, 2017

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A most special treat this week for all of us . . . and the warmest of introductions to our guest blogger, Jeanne Henriques – someone I call a very dear friend from afar, writer and photographer extraordinaire. Jeanne not only writes like a dream, but leads and writes about the most extraordinary life I have […]

Joan Larsen in Canada’s Wildest Places: Very Close Encounters With the Rutting Elk

April 26, 2017

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By Joan Larsen The shriek started off like the creak of a rusty hinge and shifted to a cross between a whistle and a screaming jazz horn – with the volume set on 11.  A group of geese hurried into the air, scared skyward.  We almost levitated, too, the first time we heard it. It […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Taking the Scenic Route – Pure Unspoiled New Zealand

April 5, 2017

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By Joan Larsen How can I tell you about this place – this beyond special island country of New Zealand – a country that never fails to sweep me away with its charm, its wonderful people, and the enchantment that I never fail to feel on each return visit?  I am swept into the very […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Here Comes the Sun… Living a Charmed Life on Marlon Brando’s Private Island

March 29, 2017

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By Joan Larsen A lifetime ago . . . or so it seems . . . romance was said to begin and end in the paradise of French Polynesia.  And so, with the help and encouragement of then famed author James Michener – a friend who made us believers, my love and I found ourselves […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Living in the Clouds – Reaching Guoliang, China on One of the World’s Scariest Roads

March 22, 2017

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By Joan Larsen   Before the road was built in the mid-1970s, the only access to the village of Guoliang – high in the Taihang Mountains of China – was a very precarious path called “The Sky Ladder” – 720 mountain steps cut into a very steep cliff.  It definitely kept visitors out.  In fact, […]

Joan Larsen’s High Adventures: Deep In Australia’s Jungles – Learning to Love a Frilled Dragon

March 15, 2017

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By Joan Larsen Still young and very adventurous on our first month-long journey to Australia – travelling on unpaved dusty roads to be one of the first to discover the wild places of the country’s Top End – had been dreamed about for years. It was a bit more rugged than we had been told […]