Last night marked the end of an era. In living rooms around the country, fans of ABC's Lost were glued to their television sets for the epic, two hour series finale. (Some extreme fans in NYC even enjoyed Dharma Beer at the Bell House in Brooklyn, while a friend of mine's band, Previously on Lost, performed before screening the finale. Be sure to check them out; they're bound to keep performing long after the show's end.)
That being said, with the end of Lost, fans may feel somewhat, well...lost, themselves. What to do now that there's nothing new to look forward to? Pray for a feature film? A spin-off? (Unless it's about Bernard and Rose, this better not happen.)
I am like a kid in a candy store when I surf around the pages of Tour d’Afrique’s website. The eight-year-old cycling tour company has four epic trips—Tour d’Afrique, Orient Express, Silk Route, and Vuelta Sudamericana—of which you can do all or part; 26 shorter tours; and a DreamTour program in which you create your ideal, no-limits, perfect journey, and if enough people join the “Count Me In” list for your tour, TdA will add it to their roster, work out the details, and let you go on it for free.
With my snowboarding skills firmly intact, I decided this season I would head west again (after three years) for some real-deal riding. Here are my highlights from my January jaunt to Vail and Beaver Creek.
Favorite runs: Avanti and Pickeroon, Vail (lift ticket $97 a day)—often-groomed, excellent mix of intermediate and advanced slope. Larkspur Bowl and Golden Bear, Beaver Creek (lift ticket $97 a day)—the bowl was next to empty and made me shout, WOOHOO, multiple times; I renamed Golden Bear “Honey Bear” because it was such a sweet ride.
Favorite après-ski spots: Garfinkel’s, Lionshead (drinks for two $15)—lots of picnic tables outside, making it easy to spot your friends; I accidentally stayed après après. Los Amigos, at Vail Village (drinks for two $15)—watch tired experts and out-of-their-league beginners make their last run down the black-diamond Pepi’s Face, and be thankful you’ve already loosened your boots.
I sure could have used SkiResorts.com when I was trying to plan a birthday ski trip with 15 of my closest friends last month. I’m not a die-hard skier, the glut of information on the web—resorts, hotels, packages, etc.—left me completely overwhelmed, and I wound up scrapping the ski trip plan for a birthday celebration of a more indoor variety: karaoke.
So while this discovery came a little too late to help me out, hopefully SkiResorts.com can come in handy for many of you this season. The site, which bills itself as a “mecca” for everything snow-related, both on and off the slopes, helps you build packages at prime skiing attractions across the continent, tailored to your needs. Trying to find a good deal on a flight and condo for a long weekend in Jackson Hole? Done. Hungry in Stowe? Dig in. Looking for a spa to soothe sore muscles after a day on the slopes in Tahoe? Look no further.
With last week's devastating earthquake in Haiti, we're reminded of the value of life's most basic necessity—water. So, efforts to raise awareness about this precious resource couldn't have come at a better time.
The crew reached the top of Kilimanjaro—which, at 19,340 feet, is Africa's tallest peak—last Tuesday, where they stopped briefly to take a photograph (below) before beginning the (much less arduous) trek back down to the bottom. (The ascent took a grueling 6 days, while the descent took just 2.)
Did the Don Marta favela (Portugese for "slum") not make your hit list the last time you visited Rio? (Something tells us an extra hour at Ipanema and a few rounds of Caipirinhas took precedence.) Well, now you can tour the typically inaccessible neighborhood on the back of downhill mountain bike, all without leaving the safety of your very (thank god) immobile armchair.
Equipped with tricked out full suspension rigs and a helmet cam, brotherly downhill duo Dan and Gee Atherton treat us to a dizzying descent of the harrowing hood, rolling over steep staircases, wiggling through tight, meandering alleyways and even jumping off church roofs. Blink and you might miss it. James Jung is a freelance editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
In 15 years of covering adventure travel for Travel + Leisure, I’ve found myself in some some fairly hair-raising situations, from bungee jumping off a platform in New Zealand to scuba diving in a cave filled with sharks off the coast of Burma. And while I've always loved the thrill of new experiences, I could never get over the horrible, gut-wrenching sensation that I would feel as my fear escalated toward panic.
What was this strange force that seemed to take over my mind? What was happening, I wondered, when I felt the grip of terror? As I began to research the questions, I learned that fear can manifest in many ways, but they all rely on the same underlying neurological system. Eventually, my exploration resulted in my new book, out this month: Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger.
Filled with real-life stories of people who have faced mortal danger and survived, Extreme Fear lays bare the neurobiological processes that underlie the sensation of intense fear and offers advice on how we can all better handle fear in our daily lives. And it makes a great holiday gift!
If you ask any of my closest friends, they'll tell you that, while I may be a spontaneous, even adventurous, person, I'm not much of an extreme thrill seeker. You won't catch me on any of the frightening rides we reported on last summer. Think you can convince me to jump out of a plane? Not a chance. And tethering myself to a bridge and hurtling myself off? You can't be serious.
That being said, I'm a little shocked by my intense fascination with a certain natural attraction: "The Devil's Pool" in Zambia. You can't even begin to fathom the magnitude of scariness/awesomeness that comes from this naturally formed pool of water. Enter YouTube:
I’ve always loved spelunking (a.k.a. cave exploring)—and not just because it’s a fun word to say (spe-lun-king!). Some of the coolest caves on earth happen to be in the U.S. (just check out Kentucky’s 367-mile-long Mammoth Cave National Park, or the stalagmite-rich Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico).
This summer, at a friends’ wedding in Central Oregon, my man-friend and I decided to take a break from the non-stop nuptial activities and do what we really wanted to do: crawl into a hole.
For years I wondered about the rusting, abandoned old hulk of a railroad bridge that spans New York’s Hudson River between Poughkeepsie on the east bank and Lloyd on the west, about 70 miles north of Manhattan. Like a stark stretch of fishnet stocking linking the two shores, the underdeck truss bridge, built in 1888, was devastated by fire in 1974. Left to deteriorate for more than 30 years, the bridge symbolized the decline of Poughkeepsie itself.