Our reward — a lovely view at lunch from Shepayzhey Pass (13,513 feet), one rarely seen by other humans.

Bhutan has become a “go to” destination since the country opened to outside travelers in 1974. That first year, just 287 visitors were permitted entry, but tourism has exploded recently, from 23,480 visitors in 2009 to 254,704 foreign individuals visiting Bhutan in 2017.

‘So what’s the attraction?’ you might ask. Bhutan is an amazing destination with much to offer.

This tiny kingdom (...

Looking toward the Pitons in Sugar Bay, St Lucia.

Tourism to the Caribbean in the fall of 2017 took a big hit following the significant damage done by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Cruise ships responded to the situation there by canceling or modifying their itineraries, and passenger bookings dropped.

By early November, the prospect of empty cabins precipitated some great last-minute bargains for frugal travelers like me.

As the...

Our parking space in the shadow of The Watchtower, a large volcanic mesa on James Ross Island.

One place I had never considered visiting was Antarctica. It always seemed too far away from my world, more of an idea than a location. But when ITN received a press release from Oceanwide Expeditions (US office in Houston, TX; 800/453-7245, oceanwide-expeditions.com) announcing discounted Antarctic cruises for members of the press (airfare not included), the allure of the distant continent was too much to resist.

The trip I found most to my liking was the roughly 2-week “...

Chef/instructor Ruth Ruiz cooking in a traditional clay pot.

Chef Ruth Ruiz announced, “This morning we’re going to the market to buy a pig’s head.” 

It was the last day of our Mexican cooking school adventure, and we’d be making a special soup often served at celebrations: pozole con puerco.

My wife, Joy, and I had signed on for an attractively priced, 7-day, 6-night package that included our room, meals and cooking classes at Mesón Sacristía de la Compañía hotel and restaurant in Puebla, Mexico (Feb....

Château de Hattonchâtel, near the WWI trenches south of Verdun.

From May 22 to June 8, 2017, I had the opportunity to check off the No. 1 destination on my bucket list with a fantastic driving trip around France. However, to pull off this trip, I had two requirements: someone who could drive a stick-shift car and a fellow traveler who was fluent in French. 

This all came together when my friend and former pastor, Cheryl Wessel, mentioned that she had been reading WWII literature, wanted to visit France and could drive a stick. My cousin...

Itchan Kala, Uzbekistan, is amazingly beautiful, with unique, resilient and varied styles of architecture.

If I die with any money in the bank, there was one trip I forgot to take. 

In an effort to live up to this mantra, I embarked in April 2017 on an exotic adventure offered by JMG Tibet Tours (Lauderhill, FL; 866/548-4238, www.jmgtibettours.com) along the ancient Silk Road that ran through the now-independent republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan ($6,295 per person, double, for the 28-day tour).

When friends heard of my plans, the...

Greenland landscape.

My love affair with the Arctic and subarctic began years ago when I flew over the great Greenland Ice Sheet when returning from a trip to Europe. Stunned by the sight of an enormous island of ice, I began making at least one trip a year to an Arctic region and have never been disappointed with the scenery, wildlife, indigenous cultures or even the weather.

My latest choice was offered by Adventure Canada (Ontario, Canada; 800/363-7566, adventurecanada.com); “Greenland & Wild...

The royal chess match begins, against the backdrop of Marostica’s Lower Castle. Photos by David Prindle

France is our favorite country, but in 2016, Italy called my husband, David, and me once again, loud and clear. It was an Emirates nonstop flight to Milan priced at $896 for two that shouted the siren song. 

A wonderful surprise

We chose September for our travels because it is our favorite time to visit Europe. The weather is nearly always nice, the crowds are manageable, and the vendange (grape harvest) seals the deal. It turned out that September 2016 held another...