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Adventure Blog

For Your Reading Pleasure: Travel Tidbits

Buzz Poole
01/22/2013 - 06:34
Myriad maps, via Design Observer

It's finally starting to really feel like winter here in New York. So in the name of keeping occupied, and warm, here are some interesting and fun travel-related tidbits from around the interweb. Feel free to add your suggestions about recent items that piqued your curiosity.

Know who has been to 112 countries in the past four years? Retiring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her chief spokesperson Philippe Reines was along for the ride except on one trip to Hungary, so he hit 111 countries. Here's the itinerary for one twelve-day trip: France, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt, Israel. Needless to say, Reines has thoughts about traveling, and he shared some with The New York Times. His packing advice: "The key to packing is to never unpack. Clothes aside, I don’t take anything out of my bags. I have a toiletry bag that is a mirror image of my bathroom at home." 

Where Chefs Eat is a brilliant book brimming with food recommendations from a Who's Who of international cuisine. Food writer Joe Warwick put eight questions to over 400 kitchen luminaries, including Ferran Adria, David Chang, April Bloomfield, Fergus Henderson - the list is staggering, as are the recommendations. Spanning the globe, the contributors discuss matters like their favorite breakfast spots, restaurants that best showcase a chef's region, and favorite cheap eats. If food is a big part of why you travel, this book is indispensable.  

Do you think baggage fees are absurd? So does Freakonomics writer Sanjoy Mahajan. Fed up with having to lug bags through terminals only to have to gate check said bags because the overhead storage is full, Mahajan insists that although American airlines baggage fees generated $3.4 billion in 2011, the societal impact is far greater than any economic benefit.  

Maps are the best. They are practical and artful, and these days can benefit greatly from technological advancements, as this Design Observer piece makes clear. But at the same site, writer Rob Walker uses an off-the-cuff remark from a Google executive - "[P]eople are about 20 IQ points smarter now because of Google Search and Maps" - to remind us that "sometimes the most interesting and important stuff in the world can’t be found on any map — no matter how technical-magical." 

Tony Wheeler and his wife Maureen first visited the Taj Mahal in 1972, which led to the creation of the first Lonely Plantet guidebook. Forty-one years later and they're still at it.

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