Back when my fellow Lost Girls Jennifer, Holly and I first left New York City to begin a yearlong, round-the-world adventure, I assumed that the last places I wanted to visit were big cities. Hadn’t I just abandoned a cramped stressed-out, metropolis to find wide-open spaces and new horizons somewhere beyond U.S. borders?
When I told people I was going to Mexico and NOT staying on the beach, a look of sincere confusion would cross their faces. “Oh, so you’re going to Mexico City, then?” they’d ask. “No, San Miguel de Allende.” San Miguel…what?
Neither a sun-soaked beach nor a mega-metropolitan center, San Miguel is nestled in the heart of central Mexico and is a colonial gem. Perched more than 6,000 feet above sea level, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is hands down one of the most charming destinations I’ve ever visited and it offered me a peek into the sleepy villages of Mexico’s past.
What I love about travel is the way it expands your worldview. I admit that I have occasionally felt like I had it hard here in the U.S. But all it takes is a trip beyond our borders and I remember how very lucky I am.
And inevitably when the citizens of my host country open their arms and welcome me, treat me like a guest in their beautiful country, I am humbled anew. Travelers are acutely aware that the world is not a collection of different people and countries, but rather a global community where people rely upon one another. And they understand that the gift of travel comes with responsibilities.
When Marilyn Monroe sang the infamous song, it was for John F. Kennedy’s birthday. But this Monday it’s America’s first president who’ll be getting the birthday honors. Turn up the volume on your own celebration with a trip to one of the U.S.’s most presidential sights–South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore.
Last weekend I turned a page in my addiction to Amazon.com’s travel bookstore: I decided to take it to the street. I set off on a self-styled walking tour of New York City’s brick-and-mortar travel bookshops to see what they had to offer, and I was thrilled with what I found. From now on, I’ll be taking all of my visitors to these spots so they can read up on NYC and plan their next trip. And the next one. And the one after that.