It’s an intermittently bright Sunday morning in northwestern Connecticut and I’ve been pre-packing (again) for the trip to Kenya and Tanzania that my husband and I will embark on next week—that is, setting aside appropriate clothing and gear, too much of it for the 30-pound-per-person weight limit for luggage on the single-engine planes that will transport us, along with our friends Woody and Maria, from lodge to lodge. The sorties to my closets and storage boxes have yielded a complicated mound that is exhausting to consider; the easier landscape begins with a well-worn copy of our itinerary and a pile of books on East African birds, mammals, and history, and ranges through a new and slightly intimidating Micro Four Thirds camera with a telephoto lens—my belated Mother’s Day present—and an assortment of proofs for the stories in this issue. Truth be told, I am feeling a tiny bit of regret that our East Africa plans do not include a stop in Lamu, the archipelago of Indian Ocean islands so seductively described by special correspondent Shane Mitchell.
Longing for more from each experience may simply be the traveler’s condition—it’s definitely mine. Take, for instance, my visit to London last spring, where I managed a quick tour of the same evolving neighborhoods portrayed in Maria Shollenbarger’s “London’s new East End”, but despite having enjoyed some interesting art exhibitions elsewhere in the city and two excellent new restaurants (Polpo and Bar Boulud), I am yearning for the pleasures of what I missed.
If you are familiar with novelist and T+L contributing editor Gary Shteyngart’s writing (and I wholeheartedly recommend his new book, Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel), you will not be surprised that the colorful Hudson River Valley he conjures up is a challenge to those of us who thought we knew the region. Florida’s Everglades? Been there, but only during one lonely night speeding across Alligator Alley from Palm Beach to Naples, when I didn’t so much as stick a toe out of the car to dip into the eccentric American milieu that Tom Austin describes. Out of such yearning comes more travel, to make up for what you haven’t seen, and this month we offer a variety of helpful sources, from online in our Best of the Web roundup to seasoned travel experts in our A-List of 121 super-agents, who will lead you there.
But, oh, how the world has changed! Along with a carefully culled selection of safari essentials, I will be packing my iPad—so much lighter than a laptop—and logging on at a lodge in Tanzania that has wireless access throughout. Although I’ll hate interrupting my time in the bush, I will do so in order to approve page layouts and interactive features for the debut of T+L’s iPad app this November—an exciting new journey in and of itself.
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