Destination: San Francisco
by Jim Benning | 07.27.11 | 11:00 AM ET
Don George recently visited a favorite northern California beach.
I let the sea wash over me, let the waves fill my head and lungs, lose myself to this inconceivably old and ageless place.
I think: This is the same scene I witnessed two decades ago, quite possibly even the same rock I sat on then, scribbling in my journal as I tap into my laptop now. And if I come back in 20 years, it will almost certainly be the same still.
But of course, much has changed in those two decades. My children have grown up and moved on. My Dad and other loved ones have passed away. New jobs, new places, new books, old dreams.
And suddenly these words flow into my brain: Where does it all come together? What does it mean?
by Jim Benning | 08.05.10 | 1:07 PM ET
Travel writers and aspiring travel writers, take note: The four-day Book Passage Travel, Food & Photography Conference kicks off a week from today in Corte Madera, California, just a short drive from San Francisco.
It’s a great chance to learn the tricks of the trades from some of the best in the business, including legendary adventure writer Tim Cahill.
I’ll be teaching a class on digital travel writing and blogging with Jen Leo. We’ll cover audio slideshow production, writing travel essays, how to create and maintain a compelling travel blog, and travel-writing ethics in the digital age. Among other highlights on the schedule, World Hum contributor David Farley will teach a class on writing personal travel essays, and columnist Jeff Pflueger will be among those teaching travel photography.
The conference is always one of the highlights of the year for me. As conference chair Don George has said, it’s kind of like summer camp for travel writers.
Beyond that, “The conference’s track record is pretty amazing,” Don said in a recent interview. “Every year at least a few graduates start getting published in newspapers, magazines and web sites as a direct result of lessons learned and contacts made at the conference; in fact, a number of this year’s ‘faculty’ members started out as ‘students’ at the conference.”
We’ve published a number of alumni on World Hum.
by Michael Yessis | 04.12.10 | 11:16 AM ET
Is San Francisco’s “ragged, druggy and determinedly dingy domain of the city’s most down and out” ready for tourists? The New York Times explores the question and talks to those behind a push to bring travelers to the ‘loin.
by Robert Reid | 04.06.10 | 2:09 PM ET
New Yorker Robert Reid asks: Could San Francisco be the better city?
by Jill K. Robinson | 03.10.10 | 11:50 AM ET
After Chile's earthquake, Jill K. Robinson paddled her kayak into California's Half Moon Bay and felt the energy from a hemisphere away
by Jenna Schnuer | 10.07.09 | 10:07 AM ET
Jenna Schnuer talks to the author of a new book about American Chinatowns and why "broken Chinese is the mark of being Chinese American"
by Jim Benning | 08.07.09 | 2:00 PM ET
The annual Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference kicks off Thursday in lovely Corte Madera, just north of San Francisco. Given the tumult in the publishing world, this year should be interesting, to say the least. The faculty lineup is impressive, as always, including such writers and editors as Tim Cahill, Jen Leo, Rolf Potts, Spud Hilton, John Flinn, Phil Cousineau, Pauline Frommer, Larry Habegger, Michael Shapiro and Wendy Perrin.
I’ll be teaching a three-hour class each morning on Travel Writing in the Digital Age. We’ll cover everything from blogging to producing audio slideshows to writing personal essays and web-friendly articles. And we’ll dig into the business side of things. Jen Leo and Rolf Potts have promised to pop in to offer their perspective.
by Alicia Imbody | 08.04.09 | 2:17 PM ET
by Alicia Imbody | 08.03.09 | 10:32 AM ET
From Puebla to Paris, 12 photos by moonstruck world travelers
by Michael Yessis | 07.21.09 | 10:28 AM ET
The San Francisco Chronicle commissioned a beautiful map of San Francisco “composed of some of the very words—from novels, poems and essays—that animate our city.” It’s “loosely inspired” by the literary map of St. Petersburg, Russia, we linked to in February. (via @roncharles)
by Julia Ross | 06.08.09 | 3:34 PM ET
I’m fortunate to live in a city that’s home to one of the best Asian art museums in the world—the Smithsonian’s Freer-Sackler Gallery—but I’m not averse to traveling to see a really great museum or exhibit elsewhere. In fact, on a trip to Dublin last fall, I spent an entire afternoon immersed in the wonderful Chester Beatty Library, gazing at Persian paintings and Islamic manuscripts. I know, I know—I was supposed to be out drinking Guinness, but I couldn’t help myself.
by David Farley | 02.26.09 | 3:25 PM ET
Chickens for pets and meat? Civil Eats checks out the “urban hen” trend happening in San Francisco. Like most people, I’d have a hard time killing something I’ve been taking care of for a while, but at the same time, knowing where your meat (and eggs) are coming from is a good thing. I once got flack from animal-rights people over a story I wrote about taking part of a pig killing in the Czech hinterlands. It’s true: it wasn’t pretty, but my critics missed the main point: raising your own animal and killing it yourself seems a lot more ethical than supporting factory-farming.
by Eva Holland | 01.23.09 | 11:15 AM ET
In the wake of the news about a new Grateful Dead tour, the good folks at Rock’s Backpages have dug up a thoughtful look back at the band’s early impact on one suburban teenager. Originally written to coincide with the 2001 release of The Golden Road, the Dead’s box set, Michael Goldberg’s essay recalls his first encounters with the band as a 14-year-old in Marin County.
by Michael Yessis | 01.21.09 | 8:30 AM ET
- Throw a can of tomato juice on a plane, get charged with terrorism?
- San Diego’s Legoland looks to build a 250-room Lego-themed hotel.
- Passengers on US Airways Flight 1549—the one that landed in the Hudson River—are getting $5,000 each.
- The 10 strangest jobs in the travel industry by one count include driver of karaoke-equipped taxi and coconut safety engineer.
- All those extra charges on Ryanair add up to a lot of pounds.
- Environmental groups won a restraining order to stop oil and gas exploration of more than 100,000 acres of land in Utah.
- Brave New Traveler attends the Chuck Palahniuk school of travel.
- Jason Wilson throws down some presidential cocktails. Baracktail, anyone?
- Here are some photos of San Francisco’s Bush Street ... or is it Obama Street? Pranksters changed some signs overnight. When I lived in S.F. in 2000, signs were changed from Bush Street to Puppet Street.
by Michael Yessis | 01.09.09 | 9:15 AM ET
- Deep-fried bacon and butter powered three Canadians in the fastest-ever trek to the South Pole.
- Mexico City has had it with all the gum.
- Another amusing story about how it is no longer 1967 in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury—except the parts of Haight-Ashbury that recall 1967.
- Interesting piece on 2008’s “cartography boom” and the way maps are changing the way we organize and look at the world.
- Can you get better travel deals by deleting your cookies? A case study.
- This Just In asks what the economic downturn means for coverage in high-end travel magazines.
- Travel book publishers are having problems in this financial climate, too. (Via Eoin Purcell)
- Fewer people live in Montpelier, Vermont (7,495) than any other U.S. capital, yet it supports four independent bookstores. Go Montpelier.
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