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7 Offbeat Adventures Around the World

Itching for an adventure, but want to set your sights on something a little out of the ordinary? Look no further. Treat yourself to a wholly unique experience with any one of these offbeat adventures: Live Like a Bedouin in Egypt If commonplace adventures sound too tame for you, consider immersing yourself in the life of a desert nomad in Egypt. U.K.-based Secret Compass[1] offers a unique minimalist two-week expedition to steep travelers in Bedouin[2] culture while leading them across the Sinai Peninsula[3] with camels in tow. The 143-mile route meanders past desert dunes, slot canyons, natural plunge pools, and…
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The Best Travel Books About Bali

Terraced rice fields in eastern Bali at dawn, with the sun rising over the volcanic peak of Gunung Lempuyang. (Photograph by David Noton Photography/Alamy Stock Photo) Thinking about planning a trip to Bali[1] or simply hoping to bone up on your knowledge about the Indonesian island province? Pick up one of these insightful books, recommended by travel literature expert Don George[2]: A House in Bali[3] (1947) is Canadian musician Colin McPhee’s classic account of Balinese music and dance and their central role in Balinese life during the 1930s; it remains one of the most penetrating and illuminating books on the…
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The Art of Sacred Placement in San Miguel de Allende

A charming Spanish colonial city with a UNESCO World Heritage designation, San Miguel de Allende[1], located in the central highlands of Mexico, is a mecca for all manner of creative types. In a place where scores of art galleries cluster in and around a vibrant centro histórico, you’d hardly think it necessary to make a trek three miles out of town to see one more. But if you don’t, you’ll miss what is arguably the most interesting attraction the area has to offer—not to mention one of its most colorful characters. Assemblage[2] artist Anado McLauchlin lives on a fantastic 2.5-acre…
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A Perfect Day in Washington, D.C.

I’ve lived in Washington[1] for (gulp) 23 years—and something I’ve learned in all that time: This is one great city to visit. I recently had the honor of writing Nat Geo’s forthcoming book Walking Washington, D.C., and reveled in the chance to traverse the District to rediscover old favorites through the eyes of a tourist and dig up treasures I never even knew existed. Here’s the recipe for a perfect day in one of the world’s most vibrant capital cities: Morning Start your day off with breakfast on Capitol Hill[2]. Hop on the Metro and head for Eastern Market[3], D.C.’s…
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Local Flavor: Hot Chicken in Nashville

“Hot chicken” is Nashville[1]’s most famous dish. With two equally famous establishments in the city, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack[2] and Hattie B’s[3], residents love to argue who fries it best. > Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack : Origin: In the 1930s, according to local legend, Thornton Prince came home late again. It wasn’t the first time he’d cheated on his girlfriend, but it was the last time she was going to put up with it. She doctored his fried chicken with an incendiary level of cayenne pepper. A Depression-era romantic comedy resulted—Prince loved the super-spicy bird, created a secret recipe, and…
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Beyond the Beach in Curaçao

Sitting 40 miles off the Venezuelan coast, the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao[1] stretches close to 40 miles itself, from north to south. And though most of the action happens at beachfront resorts and sandy expanses crowded with cruise ship passengers, the isle offers myriad (and less-traveled) historical, creative, and natural spaces that will satisfy gourmands, nature lovers, and art and architecture aficionados alike. Here’s the thoughtful traveler’s guide to getting beyond the beach in Curaçao: > Nature: Curaçao’s green—and not-so-green—landscapes were a bit of a mystery to me until my guide, Terence, pointed out wonders that were right under…
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Grand Torino: Italy’s Aperitivo Capital

To most of us, vermouth[1] is the stuff you use to make a Martini. Or a Manhattan. Fair enough. But as many of us are rediscovering, vermouth is among the most versatile of cocktail ingredients. What’s more, it’s great straight. Vermouth’s origins, as with most quaffs, are hazy. But evidence unearthed in China suggests it just may be the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world. No matter its provenance, the apéritif was likely first developed for medicinal purposes, says Adam Ford, author of a book on the spirit[2]. Folks found that botanical remedies, often foul-tasting, were more palatable when mixed…
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Books That Will Make You Fall In Love With the World

Kyoto's Philosopher's Walk abloom in spring (Photograph by Sean Pavone/Alamy Stock Photo) Those of us who follow the way of wanderlust are wild romantics. When we encounter the pheromone of the unfamiliar, we feel, see, touch, taste, and smell more keenly. Our minds are on high alert, noticing and processing everything—from the geometry of cobbled paths and thatched roofs to the tones of stray dogs and wild birds to the smell of new flowers and old dust. We fall in love with the world. A Moveable Feast (1964) is Ernest Hemingway’s nostalgic remembrance of his days as a struggling young…
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When Travel Goes Wrong

I knew something was wrong when my phone buzzed. My wife, Karen, and I were in Barcelona[1] with Peter and James, two friends from England. We had strolled from the beach to an open-air market on the Moll de la Barceloneta, a popular promenade teeming with pedestrians and bikers. Karen bought local honey; Peter and I picked up a six-pack of craft beer. Who would be texting me?, I thought. I’m a travel introvert. I’ll post a photo on Facebook to show I’m alive, but I like being inaccessible. Friends and family know this and rarely contact me when I’m…
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Backcountry Skiing in the Cascades

If we were in a ski resort, the first big powder dump of the season would be scoured by groomers or tracked out in minutes. But here, far from a formal in-bounds area, this Central Cascades mountainside is unadulterated nature—pure white fluff. It’s early December, the final run of Cascade Powder Guides[1]’ weekend avalanche course. After three days of safety talk and snow science, we’re desperate for backcountry schussing. We carve turns on a gentle plain as wide as CenturyLink; powder this deep isn’t easy to ski, but you hardly ever get this much at once. Here our skis split…
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