Browsing All Posts filed under »Travel«

Joan Larsen’s Southern California Dreaming – The Allures of Vacationing in Glorious San Diego

April 18, 2018

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By Joan Larsen   Spring is definitely in the air . . . and, if you are like me, you avoid the packed highways of summer travel, knowing that a far less crowded season awaits either Spring or Fall– with all the hidden delights that California seems to pull out of its sleeve for the […]

Joan Larsen’s Most Unforgettable Countries: Wildly Wonderful Norway

April 11, 2018

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By Joan Larsen Life holds the most unexpected surprises, the forever memories, to those who are open to them.  Isn’t that true?  But, on this day of astonishing splendor that, truly, only a few countries in our world can offer, this journey — to the edge of the world that was Norway —  had been […]

Joan Larsen Discovers a Ghost Island – A Look Back at the Indian Ocean’s Ross Island, Abandoned and Overtaken by Nature

April 4, 2018

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By Joan Larsen My dream in life:  chasing down the most remote islands on this earth.  The small dots on any map are many; my determination has been great.  Getting there has been an adventure.  Once ashore, the fear of getting lost, falling into holes, being chased by creatures far larger than I – well, […]

Joan Larsen’s Dream of a Vacation: Mountains of Our Imaginations – Adventures in Wyoming’s Grand Tetons

March 28, 2018

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By Joan Larsen We call them “second honeymoons” – and they are.  But there are just a handful of  special places in the United States that will draw us back time after time.  We have never been disappointed.  An authentic Swiss chalet in the mountains of Wyoming, aptly named The Alpenhof Lodge, has been our […]

Joan Larsen’s Glimpses of Paradise: the Amazing Sex Life of the Most Beautiful Birds in the World

March 21, 2018

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By Joan Larsen The love lives of birds really hadn’t been one of my greatest interests in life.   But on our expeditions to my favorite places in the southern hemisphere of our world – like Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and some pretty unknown islands that abound down there – we were guided down trails […]

Joan Larsen’s Most Breathtaking Places on Earth . . . Chilean Patagonia – The Journey of a Lifetime

March 14, 2018

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By Joan Larsen So much of my life has been spent in the world’s most remote places, and often many of my fellow companions are the crème of the crop of the world’s most famous photographers – the ones vying for those National Geographic covers. They have climbed the highest peaks, photographed underwater, and been […]

Joan Larsen Walks on the Wild Side… The World’s Most Spectacular Footbridges

February 21, 2018

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by Joan Larsen First things first:  nobody has fallen off this scary looking bridge.  .  . and it is the only way to get to the other side as you are here to climb Mt. Nimbus – that gorgeous peak rising like a point just ahead.  The Canadian Rockies – in the western part of […]

Wayne Ranney: The World’s Most Unique Natural Masterpiece – Exploring the Galapagos Islands

February 7, 2018

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By Wayne Ranney Roughly 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, and slam-bang on the equator, lie Darwin’s “Enchanted Isles”, the Galapagos — a place of beauty, of wonder around every corner — and islands that I found to be like nowhere else in this world.  You find yourself face-to-face with more fearless and more […]

Joan Larsen’s Wildest Adventures: Exploring Australia’s Untamed Wilderness

January 31, 2018

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By Joan Larsen We were young and adventurous when this wilderness beckoned us.  Crocodile Dundee walked in our footsteps sometime later… but we paved the way.  For the most part, the roads in the Top End were not paved.  The largest national park in Australia lies there, a “must-be-seen” wilderness called Kakadu… a journey to […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Don’t Look Down! In Photos — The World’s Scariest Hike

January 17, 2018

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By Joan Larsen Its name – El Caminito del Rey (in English: The King’s Little Pathway) … makes it sounds like it would be a delight for a child. But, in fact, this walkway, built in 1905 and attached to the steep walls of El Chorro gorge in southern Spain’s Malaga province, became – much […]

Joan Larsen’ Favorite Getaway: California’s Carmel-By-The-Sea – Simply Unforgettable

January 10, 2018

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By Joan Larsen Wading in the Pacific Ocean – as the setting sun’s last rays lit up the skies before sunset – was magical.  The last surfer was way out, paddling his board toward shore in a lazy fashion.  Only the few of us on the beach saw the whale not that far behind  the […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Felines in Residence – the Secret World Beneath Russia’s Hermitage

January 3, 2018

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by Joan Larsen St. Petersburg. . . Russia’s most wonderful city has drawn me back more than once. Home of the world-famous Hermitage Museum — just named the best museum in all of Europe (!) — is praise enough to have art lovers making a bee-line north. But – hidden far beneath the museum — […]

Joan Larsen’s Glimpse of Paradise: Spending Christmas in Antarctica

December 20, 2017

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By Joan Larsen At this season, as another Christmas draws near, we find there are moments when we look back — back at a lifetime of memories of Christmas past . . . many times wishing they could be the simpler times we once had   I speak for all of us, longing – I […]

Joan Larsen, Out and About: Lighting Up the Holidays at North Carolina’s Magnificent Biltmore Mansion

December 13, 2017

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by Joan Larsen To me, there is nothing like the feeling of a much loved family gathering filled with love – with so many hugs and so much joy – each and every Christmas. My spirits have lifted for the celebration. But I don’t want to spend the remaining days of the season stretched out […]

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 […]