by Jim Benning | 05.18.12 | 2:01 PM ET
World Hum contributors Lisa Napoli and Eric Weiner spoke in front of a live audience recently in Santa Monica. Napoli, of course, is the author of “Radio Shangri-La,” about her experience in Bhutan. Weiner wrote “The Geography of Bliss” and “Man Seeks God.” Their wide-ranging discussion touched on Bhutan, happiness, authenticity and spirituality, among other things. This 30-minute video has some highlights.
by Lisa Napoli | 04.10.12 | 11:17 AM ET
In an excerpt from "Radio Shangri-La," Lisa Napoli makes the climb to Bhutan's Taktsang Monastery
by Jim Benning | 04.10.12 | 11:16 AM ET
Jim Benning asks the author about her memoir and how the Himalayan kingdom changed her
by Larry Habegger | 09.22.10 | 12:46 PM ET
Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
by Abbie Kozolchyk | 07.08.10 | 4:28 PM ET
Abbie Kozolchyk finds herself on an unlikely quest to buy soccer jerseys from Bolivia to Bhutan
by Eric Weiner | 10.09.09 | 12:26 PM ET
On the intersection of place, politics and culture
by Julia Ross | 03.20.09 | 12:30 PM ET
We haven’t seen much of Michael J. Fox on television in recent years, but now the former Spin City actor has surfaced—surprisingly—in Bhutan. Following in the footsteps of World Hum contributor Eric Weiner, Fox visited the Himalayan nation this month to investigate the country’s vaunted Gross National Happiness policy, as part of a television special on the nature of optimism, due to air in May.
I’m wondering what Fox uncovered given that Bhutan marks its one-year anniversary as a democracy this week. As we’ve seen elsewhere in the world, that transition can trigger a less-than-optimistic mood in the general populace. I haven’t seen much coverage of how things are going in Bhutan; perhaps it’s time for a Geography of Bliss sequel.
by Julia Ross | 03.20.09 | 10:57 AM ET
March is Women’s History Month, so this seems a good moment to call out a few of history’s great women travelers. Because so many 19th- and early 20th-century adventurers found themselves drawn to Asia, I’ve narrowed this list to women who made their mark on that continent, fording the Indus River or crossing the Tibetan Plateau, in defiance of social norms and often at great risk. These are the women I wish I’d been in another life. Herewith, my top-six list of the most intrepid Western female travelers to take Asia by foot, camel or donkey.
by Julia Ross | 01.22.09 | 1:56 PM ET
If this is indeed the “Asian century,” count me as an early adopter. I’ve quit two full-time jobs to explore the world’s most diverse continent, and they were the two best decisions I’ve ever made. To an Asia hand, the lavender fields of Provence might be pleasant, but it’s the chanting of novice monks, the mystical tinkling of the gamelan, a bowl of spicy dan dan noodles that really get the blood pumping. I’m drawn back, again and again, and I don’t know if I’ll ever kick the habit.
My (unlikely) introduction to Asia began in arid, post-Soviet Uzbekistan in the late ‘90s. As soon as my conference in Tashkent wrapped up, I hopped a bus to the Silk Road city of Samarkand, where blue-tiled madrassas dazzled against an azure sky. They were like nothing I’d seen, a window into an ancient time when Tamerlane traipsed across the steppes.
by Frank Bures | 01.15.09 | 9:09 AM ET
Frank Bures talks to the author of a guide to a place that may or may not exist
by World Hum | 01.29.08 | 11:41 AM ET
Frank Bures gets lost in Eric Weiner's "The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Place in the World"
by Michael Yessis | 05.07.07 | 4:15 PM ET
Only seven years ago satellite television was banned in Bhutan. Since then, the landlocked kingdom squeezed between India and Tibet has opened itself to waves of outside influence. “Today, globalization is officially sanctioned,” Somini Sengupta writes in the New York Times, “and it is rushing in fast.” The Today Show’s Matt Lauer dropped in last week with cameras rolling during his “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” jaunt, and Hollywood types such as Uma Thurman and Cameron Diaz are reportedly frequent visitors. Non A-listers are making their way to Bhutan, too, and Thuji Dorji Nadik, joint director in the Department of Tourism, told Reuters reporter Simon Denyer that the arrival of the masses has put the country in danger of becoming a victim of its own success.
by Michael Yessis | 07.14.06 | 11:42 AM ET
And the nations with the world’s largest economies finished down the 178-nation list. Way down. Germany ranked 81st, Japan 95th and the United States 150th. The New Economics Foundation, which bills itself as a “think-and-do tank,” says its inaugural Happy Planet Index “moves beyond crude ratings of nations according to national income, measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP).” The new index, they say, produces “a more accurate picture of the progress of nations based on the amount of the Earth’s resources they use, and the length and happiness of people’s lives.” A BBC News story quotes Richard Layard, director of the Well-Being Programme at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance, as saying that the index “was an interesting way to tackle the issue of modern life’s environmental impact.” Layard continues: “Over the last 50 years, living standards in the West have improved enormously but we have become no happier.” So which countries besides the island nation of Vanuatu are happiest? Colombia and Costa Rica round out the top three. Burundi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe finished at the bottom.
by Ben Keene | 06.29.06 | 11:07 AM ET
Outside magazine’s June issue features a compelling article on Bhutan, the isolated Asian kingdom short on airports, stoplights, and tourists, but apparently not short on happiness. Senior editor Stephanie Pearson joins Robert Thurman, ordained Buddhist monk and friend of the the Dalai Lama, on a road trip across the landlocked nation in search of her own inner contentment. Following in the footsteps of a Buddhaholic and joined by a gaggle of psychonauts and budding bodhisattvas, she describes a society seeking to find its own sort of peace between ancient traditions and the pull of modernity. For travelers with bigger budgets as well as a hankering for a blend culture, adventure and spirituality, Outside includes several tour operators that arrange Bhutan trips from the United States.
by Michael Yessis | 02.04.06 | 2:17 PM ET
Yahoo! adventure guru Richard Bangs covers the history of adventure travel in just 874 words today in a New York Times piece. I’ll summarize in 86 words: First adventure travelers were merchants on expedition. Many accidental discoveries. Ericson, North America. Columbus, the Caribbean. Modern adventure travel began 35 years ago. Treks in the Nepalese Himalayas. Maoist revolutionaries emerge. Adventurers go to Bhutan. In the ‘70s, Afghanistan, Algeria and New Guinea. In the ‘80s, the Nile, Mount Ararat and Bali. Religious-based terrorism drives out adventurers. In the ‘90s, the Alps. Euro rises. Everyone goes to Thailand. Tsunami hits. Libya, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Panama become popular. For now. When in doubt, there’s always Costa Rica.
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