Friday, April 30, 2010
by Ellen Barone
How do you turn a walk in the country into a multi-national adventure travel business managed from a remote sheep farm in the English countryside? Is it possible to transform a love for the outdoors into not only a lifestyle but also a living? To find out, tune in for a chat with the charming Michael West, founder of The Wayfarers, currently celebrating 27 years of all-inclusive walking vacations. Like many who believe that one of the nicest ways to experience a place is on foot, I return year after year to walk the world with The Wayfarers. Learn more about new itineraries, old favorites and the magic of a Wayfarers walk that keeps us coming back for more.
Listen Again - Ellen interviews Michael
ABOUT ELLEN BARONE'S TRAVEL TALK:
As useful as it is entertaining, travel expert Ellen Barone, provides the in-the-know scoop on where to go, what to see, and the travel technology to get you there. Ellen’s humor, honesty and fresh view of our colorful world delight audiences as she talks in-depth about travel and photography, people and diversity, adventure and self-discovery. Tune in for Ellen's travel advice, vacation tips, gadget reviews, book recommendations, photography how-to, and more, and transform the quality of your travels – and your life!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
by Judy Allpress, The Wayfarers' Newport Office
We (Michael West, Judy Allpress and Alessandro Tombelli - all pictured above) had a wonderful week full of action in Georgia visiting Atlanta, Savannah, St. Simon’s Island, Sea Island, Hilton Head and Skidaway Island.
The purpose of the southbound swing was to get in touch with some of our guests and to see our loyal walking friends face to face. We were so lucky!
Introductions were made, parties were given and we had such a good time. We walked beautiful trails, visited and toured private homes and gardens and made many new friendships all thrown in with lots of history and Georgian culture! At the Buckhead Diner in Atlanta, we hosted a brunch for 26 people. After a tour of Oakland Cemetery, we hosted a lunch at 6 Feet Under (I remember the savory taste of the fish stew).
We take The Wayfarers on the road each year across the USA. Maybe your town will be next!
Would you like to host a Wayfarers' event in your town? Contact Judy Allpress on 1-800-249-4620
See more photos on our Facebook page.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Everett Potter, editor-in-chief of Everett Potter's Travel Reports and a columnist for USA Weekend magazine, will be hosting our Dartmoor to Exmoor Walk on September 26-October 3, 2010. We caught up with Everett recently to ask him some questions about his life and experiences in travel.
The Wayfarers: Who (or what) inspired you to become a travel writer?
Everett Potter: I’m not sure there was one point in time, but reading had a lot to do with it. Reading Jules Verne as a boy, and even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World.” These were books that I remember vividly. As an adult, I think the inspiration was reading Paul Theroux's "The Great Railway Bazaar” in the late 70's, followed by a slew of other books that had a strong travel component, books like “The Snow Leopard” by Peter Mathiessen and then discovering classics like “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush,” by Eric Newby, “A Time of Gifts” by Patrick Leigh Fermor and “Letters from Iceland,” by Louis MacNeice and W.H. Auden. My first professional trip, which was as much about luck as anything else, landed me in China in 1984, in Shandong Province, which was just opening to the West. It was like parachuting into the past.
The Wayfarers: What is your favorite form of travel?
Everett: Walking. It just doesn’t get any better than that. My idea of a good time is arriving in a new city, getting a city map, and setting out for hours. In the countryside, walking is always the best way to go. That’s especially true in Ireland and the British Isles, in France and Switzerland and Italy. Nothing against bicycles, but walking at a four or five mile an hour pace seems to be ideal for observing. My second favorite form of transport would be skiing, but that’s fairly limiting. Followed by trains. But regardless of how riveting the view, trains always put me to sleep.
The Wayfarers: Which country or destination have you seen change the most in your years of travel?
Everett: From firsthand experience, I’d probably have to say Ireland. I first went there in the mid 1970's and for all intents and purposes, it could have been the early 1950's. When you rode a bus in the country, it would be loaded with baby chicks and mail and crates of vegetables. It could take a couple of days to work your way up the West Coast.
In Donegal, where my grandmother came from, I met several childhood friend of hers who still lived in thatched houses. I went back to Ireland dozens of times in the 80's and early 90's. Nothing much changed. Country pubs were still sleepy, towns in the West were redolent of the 19th century, and the farmers parked their Ford Cortinas on Grafton Street in Dublin like they’d gone to a cattle market.
Then fast forward to the 21st century and a decade plus of the Celtic Tiger and you’d be hard pressed to recognize many cities and towns, thanks to an aggressive building boom. The highways are enviable, you’re more likely to see high end BMW’s than buses, and Dublin is every bit as chic as any European capital. But I can’t help but feel that something – a few things – have been lost. My advice is to travel in the West, where you’re more likely to encounter remnants of the past.
The Wayfarers: What is the most unusual experience you have had on your travels?
Everett: Hard to say – was it a terrifying 36 hour road trip through the Himalayas last spring, on a crumbing Nepalese road that had just opened in the deepest gorge in the world? Or the kismet of walking down a street on a balmy night in Rio de Janeiro and catching a world class bossa nova band playing on the street? I think it’s the latter – it’s timing and coincidence that make for magical, memorable or unusual moments. Like standing on a cliff on the Isle of Skye in the Hebrides and watching a whale shark, all 30 feet of him, rise up from the ocean. Sailing out of New York harbor with my wife and daughter on the maiden voyage on the Queen Mary 2, with the Queen Elizabeth 2 at our stern the entire way across the Atlantic. Or meeting Princess Diana with Richard Branson. Now that’s a story ...
The Wayfarers: What is your favorite book on travel?
Everett: Probably the last good one that I read. Too many to name, but I liked “Dark Star Safari,” by Paul Theroux, his book on Africa. Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods,” the funniest travel book ever. And Jonathan Raban’s “Passage to Juneau,” about sailing the Inside Passage (and much more).
The Wayfarers: What is your most enjoyable vacation activity?
Everett: Do I get two answers? If so, in winter, it’s skiing with my wife in daughter, either in one of the great Utah resorts like Alta or Deer Valley, or in the Swiss resort of Villars. In summer, it’s going to our cabin on a lake in Western Maine and listening to the loons. It’s a “camp” in Maine-speak. You dive off the dock into the lake, go kayaking and fishing and live in t-shirts, shorts and Tevas. There’s no insulation in the walls but there is broadband. Well, we do like to stay in touch.
Editor's Note: If you'd like to join Everett on the trail, contact The Wayfarers on 1-800-249-4620 to secure a place on our September 26 - October 3, 2010 Dartmoor to Exmoor Walk. If you are intrigued by Everett's description of Ireland, you may like to consider joining our Ring of Kerry Walk in the southwest of Ireland.
EVERETT POTTER, editor-in-chief of Everett Potter's Travel Report, is a columnist for USA Weekend magazine, which is distributed to more than 600 newspapers and has 23 million readers. He is a contributing editor for Ski and a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler, Travel & Leisure Online, New York, Town & Country, Martha Stewart Living, Virtuoso Life, Endless Vacation, and Forbes Life.
A former columnist for Diversion, Luxury Spa Finder and Laptop magazines, his writing has appeared in a variety of other publications, including Outside, The Wall Street Journal, Conde Nast Traveler, Conde Nast Traveller UK, Elle Decor, Centurion, Bride's, National Geographic Adventure, Food & Wine, Aspen Magazine, Metropolitan Home, Manhattan inc., and Delta Sky. Potter contributed to ForbesTraveler.com and worked as a consultant on the Forbes 400 list of the World's Best Hotels.
From 1988 through 2005, Potter authored a weekly, nationally syndicated column that was distributed by The New York Times Syndicate. From 1993 to 1997, he was the first contributing editor for travel to SmartMoney: The Wall Street Journal Magazine of Personal Business.
Potter has made dozens of guest appearances on television and radio and has been seen and heard on NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC, CBS, Fox, Bloomberg Radio and NPR's All Thing Considered.
by Michael West, Founder
I have long wanted to introduce a Walk in Northern Ireland, a region I have loved since I first visited in the 1970’s. Now that political stability has finally been secured, it seemed the right time to realise that ambition and I am thrilled with the success of our Inaugural Walks last year.
The welcoming warmth of the Ulster-folk exceeded even the legendary hospitality of their southern neighbours; the unspoiled countryside; the lush glens with streams bickering over waterfalls; thousands of seabirds screeching on the wing over Rathlin Island; standing on the cliffs of Ulster and seeing, to the west, the hills of Donegal in the Irish Republic and, to the east, the coast of Scotland, mirroring the fascinating and often bloody history; the stunning coastline, described by my co-Founder, Christopher Hague, who has hiked everywhere there is to hike, as “coastal walking as good as anywhere in the world”.
Above all, however, the highlight of any visit to Northern Ireland is the fantastic, phenomenal Giant’s Causeway – a UN World Heritage Site – whose 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns slope into the sea towards the coast of Scotland inviting, daring you to follow the Giant. No amount of reading or web-browsing can prepare you for the thrill of approaching the Causeway on foot along the cliff top; nothing can diminish the surprise and gasp of delight as the formation takes shape beneath you and the impact of this unique, awe-inspiring phenomenon makes its mark.
The National Trust cares for the site and is doing much to preserve its awesome beauty and to mitigate the effects of mass-tourism. The Wayfarers low-impact, on foot visits to the Giant's Causeway, and many other sites throughout the United Kingdom, support the Trust in these endeavours financially and in practice.
Find out more about The Wayfarers' 2010 Northern Ireland Walks in June, July and September.