Women at the Ashenda Festival in Yeha.

In August 2015, I organized a trip to Ethiopia that took me across the width and breadth of that beautiful, ancient land. During that trip, I visited many of its world- renowned sites and a number of historical cities and saw some of its natural wonders, such as the towering Simien Mountains and the Blue Nile Gorge. 

In early September 2017 I returned to Ethiopia, a country, along with its people, that I had become particularly fond of. I wanted to retrace the steps of my earlier...

A section of Cocalito Beach near Jeanette Kawas National Park.

As a dedicated Road Scholar (Boston, MA; 800/454-5768, www.roadscholar.org) traveler, I keep up with the company’s new travel opportunities. The “Honduras: Rainforest, Reef & Ruins” tour was a new one in 2017. 

Admittedly, the country has a bad rep — primarily relating to violence resulting from the drug trade — but Honduras is a wonderful country that is worthy of adventure travelers who want value and a nontouristy destination. 


The well-preserved medieval town of Sighis¸oara in Transylvania.

It was a leap of faith. ITN received a call from a subscriber who had just returned from a trip to Romania and wanted to let us know that he had enthusiastically encouraged the tour operator, Cultural Romtour, to contact our magazine in the hopes of introducing the company to the ITN “family” of travelers. The company’s owner, Razvan Balint, soon reached out with an offer to host a representative of ITN on a late-August 2017 tour. Since I was already going to be in Germany...

View of the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, UAE

I had visited and admired many Muslim countries, but I had yet to observe daily life in the Gulf nations, which pair great wealth and deep conviction to Islam and have played a critical role in world history, both past and present. 

My 15-day “Arab Sheikdoms” tour in October 2016 with Bestway Tours & Safaris (Vancouver, BC, Canada; 800/663-0844, www.bestway.com) took me to five vibrant countries I had never seen before: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and all seven...

A bai, or men’s house, seen on our tour of Palau

In May 2017, my wife, Iris, and I started a 42-day trip to the South Pacific with an evening Air New Zealand flight from Los Angeles to New Zealand. 

On this island-hopping trip, we took 31 different flights (including short interisland flights), extending from the Tropic of Capricorn, 23.45 degrees south of the equator, to nearly the Tropic of Cancer, 23.45 degrees north of the equator. Our trip, arranged by Hima at Asian Pacific Adventures (Tarzana, CA; 800/825-1680, www....

View of María Pita Square in A Coruña.

Having traveled extensively in Spain over the years, in May 2017 we set our sights on an area new to us, the rugged region of Galicia, in the northwest corner of the country. 

Because I am a military retiree, we are able to catch hops on US military aircraft to many wonderful destinations, and getting to Spain from Charleston, South Carolina, was relatively easy. Our 8-hour flight from Charleston to a Navy base in Rota, about two hours by bus south of Seville, delivered us there...

View of the Sea Channel from atop the Grand Cascade at Peterhof.

Russia has been on our travel wish list for quite some time, though it is a destination that can be intimidating for DIY travelers. A lot of research and good planning were necessary, but we were rewarded with an amazing trip. We did divert a bit from our normal DIY routine at times by hiring a driver or a guide for particular areas.

Moscow introduction

Following our journey through Georgia (Dec. ’17, p. 40), we flew Georgian Airways from Tbilisi to Moscow’s...

Our Grand Circle ship, the Bizet, docked in Paris.

In March 2016, my two traveling companions, Mary and Elaine, and I flew from San Francisco to Paris to embark on a Grand Circle Travel (GCT) river cruise from Normandy to Paris. This was my sixth trip with Grand Circle (Boston, MA; 800/221-2610, gct.com) — the third river cruise — and all have been excellent and reasonably priced. 

I’ve discovered that people develop great loyalty to this travel company. For two travelers in our group this time, it was their...