Lots of events have conspired over the last few years to bring the fragility of the environment into the spotlight. As a self-proclaimed eco-geek, I couldn’t be happier. About a month ago, President Bush announced his National Parks Centennial Initiative which, among other things, would fund $100 billion dollars over 10 years to prepare the parks for the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016. I wouldn’t even want to imagine our country without our Grand Canyons, Shenandoahs, and Yosemites–that would eliminate some of my fondest vacation memories.
Back in November, I was riding the elevator up to work–staring as the numbers lit-up… 2, 3, 4…, and then I started eavesdropping. During our six-floor ascent, I overheard someone mentioning that soon travelers will be able to hook up iPods in-flight. No pun intended, but that was music to my ears.
At our holiday party a few months ago, I won the Grand Prize: A trip to Paris! The last time I toured the City of Light, I was a junior in college. It was 1994 and I was studying abroad in Stockholm, so I spent my spring break visiting pals in Madrid and Paris. I’m sure Paris has changed a lot in the (gulp) 13 years since my last visit. One change I’m especially excited about is that Paris is rolling out a bike-loan program to provide thousands of bikes to commuters and tourists for free.
The Amazing Race: All-Stars premieres this Sunday. It’s the eleventh season of this, my favorite, reality show, and they’re featuring competitors from past races. Deep down, I’ve always wanted the chance to battle for a million dollars while discovering exotic places that I might never see otherwise. What’s holding me back? Part of it is that I can’t find that perfect partner. (The other part is that I get cranky when I’m hungry and nobody needs to see that!)
Actually, even when a million dollars isn’t on the line, selecting a co-traveler is tough.
As an east coaster transplanted in California, I didn’t make it to Hawaii until my 31st birthday. Since then I’ve been nine times, including the trip I just returned from–celebrating my 34th on Kauai. Averaging about three visits a year, I can’t seem to get enough. Plus, with tourism being the islands’ biggest moneymaker, I rationalize that I’m doing my part to support their economy. Truthfully though, I just love it.
It was my first time in Kauai, and we didn’t stop for six days straight.