Nancy Novogrod, editor, portrait, Travel + Leisure
Credit: Richard Phibbs

Every story has a backstory—though not always quite so dramatic as that of “In Search of Iceland’s Nordic Cuisine,” Shane Mitchell’s account of her culinary journey through Iceland. Little did any of us know—neither Shane, nor her acquaintances from Iceland, and certainly not I—that as we were meeting in my office last April the first ashen plumes from the volcano Eyjafjallajökull were swooping up into the air. Feeling no more than a few steps removed from world events seems to come with the job of editing an international travel magazine, particularly one with five far-flung global editions as well as a website and iPad issues. This reality was once again brought home to me during a business trip in the United Arab Emirates in January, where I learned about the demonstrations that were just starting up in Cairo. The knowledge turned out to be valuable: I was able to access a firsthand report of the violence and pass it on to a T+L writer planning to leave for Egypt on assignment that very night (he didn’t).

Thankfully, most stories have simpler beginnings and ends. This month for Travel + Leisure’s annual Europe issue, writer and passionate gardener Dominique Browning enrolled in a course at Great Dixter, the legendary English garden created by the late master gardener and author Christopher Lloyd. Bruce Schoenfeld, T+L’s wine and spirits editor, embarked on a quest to find the best southern Rhône Valley wines, including Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas, indulging his personal and professional interests alike. Valerie Waterhouse, our Italy correspondent, drove down from the mountain village she calls home to dip into the diversions of the Italian lakes, from Como through Maggiore, Orta, and Garda.

For more on Europe, we offer a close-up view of what’s happening in St. Petersburg, Russia, a road trip through the Austrian and Swiss Alps, plus a Strategies Special Report, “Tips for Driving in Europe,” to help you navigate with ease. If you can’t decide where to start, try “Europe’s Best Affordable Hotels”—attractive and reasonable European hotels that will provide plenty of inspiration.

One thing is for sure—readers of Travel + Leisure are enthusiastic travelers to Europe. I hope that your plans are conceived with and end in pleasure and that the backstories only make the memories better.

Where to Find Me

Twitter: @nnovogro