Posts Tagged ‘National Geographic Traveler’
Among the many overwhelming things swarming around in my head this past week (the bittersweet sadness of leaving my old job, the anxiety and stress of moving to a new city, the haphazard strategizing that comes with unpacking my life…), the part of my mind that is attuned to all things magical and odd kept reminding me that it was Mardi Gras.
Alas, Cambridge is not New Orleans, but I was parading along in spirit with my pals Krista, Susanne, Andrew and Kristian, who all made my first experience there so fantastic. It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since I reported the story, but thankfully it lives on, having been published in several international editions of National Geographic Traveler this year, including the Dutch version, here. The English version is here, and you can also check out some of Krista’s photos of this year’s parades.
I made my television debut this weekend, appearing on Weekend Sunrise, a morning show based in Australia. They asked me to speak about some our new World Heritage travel guides — many of which were selected by National Geographic readers. I learned that the odd thing about doing television is that you’re in an empty room staring at a camera and you have no idea what’s appearing on screen. Or when they’re looking at you or running a clip of some lovely Italian hillside. Luckily, they showed lots of clips.
I had a chance to meet up with the terrific team at National Geographic Traveler China while in Beijing, including their fabulous editor Maggie, and the adorable and sweet Zoe, Moon, Luo Luo, and Tracy, who were amazing hosts and were eager to show me the insider’s Beijing. Thanks so much to everyone for making me feel so welcome!
UPDATE: I blogged about meeting up with the team over at Intelligent Travel, and they blogged back. I don’t know Chinese, so I relied on Google translate: “Janelle is a very fresh and lively American girl, and very talkative.” Pretty much sums it up.
As a journalist, I don’t typically blink at the opportunity to talk to high-profile types. I’ve done the party reporting thing, and my old gig often meant dealing with the hassle of tracking down disinterested PR-types to wrangle five minutes of their time. But finding out that I could chat with Tom Hanks, and that everything was being arranged without issue? Well that was a gift. And truly, Hanks is as nice as he seems. We spoke for 15 minutes on the phone about Beyond All Boundaries, the film he produced for the new theater at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, which just opened this month. And he was gracious, charming, funny, and passionate about the work he’s done to tell the story of the war. Here’s one excerpt about how he’s visited Normandy and why it’s important to revisit the sites where history happened.
I’ve actually gone through the footsteps of individual battles we brought to life in Band of Brothers, the piece we did for HBO. You walk through a farmer’s field and they say, “we dug a trench here.” And you know what’s there? A trench. It’s still an impression in the farmland—it never goes away. It brings a human dimension to the people who were walking a really long way when they were very tired on a day when their job was to kill people on the other side. That to me just takes it out of any mythical storytelling atmosphere and turns it into a human one. Of human beings doing things one step at a time, one day at a time, one damn thing at a time. That’s the type of connection that it brings to you and that makes me think that’s what 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old kids are doing today in places like Afghanistan.
At long last, my article on Boulder, “This City is Better Than Yours” is out this month in Traveler (PDF to come, don’t worry). The online version went up today, complete with its very own slideshow, and this is my favorite photo. Excellent work done by Joanna Pinneo, who shot the piece.
Boulder is a fantastic town, and yes, it’s very easy to imagine packing your bags and living there (the girl who fact-checked this piece literally did just that as we closed the issue). At the risk of quoting myself, here’s the intro:
It’s been called the smartest city in America, the thinnest city in America, the best place for a runner or an überjock, and the top green and clean city in the United States. You have to wonder: Where is this perfect place? To find it, head about an hour’s drive outside Denver to Boulder, Colorado, a city of 100,000 people and a university town at the foot of the Rockies’ Front Range. “You’ve got 45,000 acres of open space and a hell of a natural park,” says Jim Philips, a naturalist for the city of Boulder, explaining its charms. But that’s not all: “It’s the air and the mountains—it’s everything.”
Really though, the moment I knew this city was kind of “perfectville” was at brunch one morning at the Dushanbe Teahouse. A 10-year-old sitting across from me was wearing a medal and had numbers written down his leg. After I finished my yummy meal, I congratulated the kid on his medal and asked what he’d done. “Swim, bike, run,” he said nonchalantly. Apparently it was not his first triathalon.
Update: See the full piece after the jump….
Photo: Joanna Pinneo