National Geographic’s ‘Journeys of a Lifetime’ Has Us Renewing Our Passports [REVIEW]

Bran Castle

Unless you’re fascinated by mythic folklore, Transylvania may not be high on your list of dream vacations. But with beautiful summers, loads of historic sites like Bran Castle to explore, and plenty of inexpensive flights from major European cities, it is quickly becoming a top destination for world travelers. (Photo by NH53, Flickr)

Ever since I was a boy in Mrs. Harris’s seventh grade world geography class, I have anxiously awaited each issue of National Geographic. The yellow box on the cover always seemed like a magic telescope that allowed me to peer into other places and cultures where I discovered untold wonders and met fascinating people. That’s a feeling I still get to this day, whether I’m reading the magazine or watching a Nat Geo documentary. Now National Geographic is igniting our wanderlust once again with its second edition of Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, published on the 10th anniversary of the original edition’s initial release date.

The Colorado Trail

It can take 40 days to hike the entirety of the Colorado Trail. (Photo by Pierce Martin, Flickr)

In this edition, Nat Geo’s famed travel writers reveal their favorite trips, including 120 brand new destinations. Fully updated and wildly diverse, they take us from Australia to Norway, Malaysia to Papua New Guinea, and everywhere in between. And no matter how we like to travel, they’ve got us covered, whether we want to hop on a train or set sail, drive or walk, and of course fly, there are loads of unique modes of transportation to explore. But the fun doesn’t stop there. We also have our taste buds tantalized as we are introduced to unique foodie adventures, get our thirst for culture quenched in amazing ways, and more often than not we are even thrown into the action as we venture into bustling cities and remote landscapes. Reading Journeys of a Lifetime is total wish-fulfillment for practically every travel junkie there is.

Russell Payan plays guitar under the Washington Square Park arch

Explore the wonders of New York City’s Greenwich Village day or night and experience everything from live music to unique architecture. (Photo by Jens Schott Knudsen, Flickr)

One of the things I really like about this book is that while there are countless trips we can take to distant corners of the globe, the authors also remind us that there are plenty of things to see and do right here in the USA. For example, we can lace up our sneakers and explore New York City’s Greenwich Village where we’ll encounter the first Whitney Museum in MacDougal Alley and the city’s narrowest house, where actors Cary Grant and John Barrymore both lived. Or if getting back to nature is more your speed, then you will need comfy hiking boots to trek the 479-mile Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango, where you’ll gasp at spectacular vistas inside the Weminuche Wilderness and can soak your aching dogs in the thermal pools at Cottonwood Hot Springs.

The International Alba White Truffle Fair

The International Alba White Truffle Fair draws foodies from around the world each year to sample its culinary delights. (Photo by Davide Carletti)

If you’re foodies like we are, then book a flight to Italy for October’s National Truffle Fair in Alba or similar events in Asti and Acqui Terme. While there be prepared to loosen your belt as you savor loads of gastronomic delights, including buttery pastas, succulent porcini mushrooms, salami flavored with Barolo wine, chestnut honey, Piedmontese ricotta, and so much more. Already been to Europe and looking to further educate your palate? Head to South Africa’s Cape Winelands between October and May where you can soak up the area’s tranquil, stunning landscapes even as you taste new Pinotage wines at Kanonkop Wine Estate, shiraz vintages at Meerendal Wine Estate, and Bordeaux-blend wines at the Rustenberg vineyard.

Golfing in Scotland

With over 500 courses to choose from, Scotland has the perfect venue for every level of golfer. (Photo by John Haslam, Flickr)

Feeling athletic? Spend a week golfing at some of Scotland’s legendary courses in Spring or Fall to avoid the wet, rainy winter or the overcrowded summers. Marvel at the fairways built right into the rugged and bracing landscapes, with plenty of spectacular views, such as at the parkland course of Charleton or the promontory of Fife Ness at Crail Balcomie Links. Looking for encounters with the supernatural or simply want to satisfy your curiosity regarding ancient folklore? Head to Romania and explore beautiful Transylvania in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains. Although you may not encounter a certain infamous Count, your imagination will definitely run wild as you explore dark forests and remote medieval castles replete with howling wolves. If nightmares aren’t your thing, enjoy summertime walks through the warm and lovely Romanian countryside.

Cape Wineland

Escape to the tranquil beauty of Cape Wineland vineyards, where stunning vistas meet amazing flavors. (Photo by South African Tourism, Flickr)

Whether you have a dream destination in mind already or not, Journeys of a Lifetime is going to inspire you with all its thoroughly researched expert tips and advice with plenty of breathtaking photography to keep you riveted. This is the kind of volume that makes destination travel seem possible. It will allay any hesitations you may have about visiting particular countries, and will undoubtedly pique your curiosity about places you may have only heard of in story books. Yes, the folks at National Geographic know how to whet our appetites for travel. In fact, before you know it, you just may be heading to the local post office to renew your passport. Speaking of which, where are my keys?

National Geographic's JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

One of the world’s leading nonfiction publishers, National Geographic Books has published more than 1,700 titles, featuring such categories as history, travel, nature, photography, space, science, health, biography, and memoir. A portion of its proceeds is used to fund exploration, conservation, and education through ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society.

JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME: 500 OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST TRIPS, SECOND EDITION
By National Geographic
416 pgs. National Geographic. $40.

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase Journeys of a Lifetime at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and National Geographic.

Journeys of a Lifetime is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: