Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel

Dan Prothero/Special to the Town Crier
Travel writers at the October gathering of the Weekday Wanderlust group include, from left, James Nestor, Kimberley Lovato, Paul Rauber, Marcia DeSanctis and Lavinia Spalding.

Travel writing should either “inspire you to go somewhere or tell you about someplace you would never go because it scares you,” according to Lavinia Spalding, author and co-founder of Weekday Wanderlust.

Weekday Wanderlust is a monthly reading series in San Francisco featuring Bay Area travel writers. Speaking at the end of the October Wanderlust meeting, Spalding applauded that night’s readings from authors Marcia DeSanctis, James Nestor and Paul Rauber, senior editor of Sierra Magazine.


Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. We were only permitted to see what the government prescribed, thus there were no visits to open markets or stores, except souvenir shops. Our two guides always made sure that we did not take pictures of any military or construction areas. We never felt threatened or insecure, but neither did we stray off on our own.

One of the main impressions in North Korea is that the smiling faces of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il are everywhere – in subways, museums, schools, monuments, even along the highway. The scenes are often of the two “Dear Leaders” benevolently smiling, surrounded by happy children or workers. The words of the Dear Leaders, published in many books and taught in schools, govern the behavior and define the laws of the country.


Packing your bags: Weighing style versus convenience

A flurry of articles and videos on how to pack for a trip landed in my inbox last month.

Most told me not to fold, but instead to roll clothes so that they take up less space and prevent wrinkles in a suitcase that meets carry-on standards.


Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi Palace to the Grand Bazaar in one day is no fun.

Instead of that daily whirlwind itinerary, we decided to wing it.


LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a bird photographer and wildlife advocate, recently visited Nina Faust in Homer, Alaska, to photograph the Sandhill cranes breeding on Faust’s 650-acre property.

Powell met Faust through Gary Ivey, head researcher on the West Coast for the International Crane Foundation. Ivey had tagged the cranes that winter in the Lodi area and discovered that the local crane population summers in Homer.


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