Credit: Nancy Novogrod

Style and culture are the themes of this month’s issue, and I must admit that I’m a geek about them both: a dedicated shopper for myself, my family, and my home; a gallery- and museum-goer with a taste for theater, concerts, and dance, even if I don’t always get there. Sad to say, I often miss what I most want to see—recently, the American Ballet Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet at Lincoln Center, starring David Hallberg. I had tickets, but was forced to bow out that morning when a torn Achilles tendon (my husband’s) intervened. I would have made it to the Whitney Biennial this spring if I had only planned my time between trips better, but as Kate Betts makes clear in “New York Now”—her take on the ever-evolving neighborhoods of TriBeCa, Harlem, and Williamsburg—there are many tempting distractions that can get in the way.

The truth is, it’s easier to make well-considered choices when you are crafting an itinerary, or you are at least in a travel-planning mind-set. You can check out online listings for cultural events and map out the places you most want to visit. Take, for instance, shopping. Except at times when I am catapulting from one meeting to the next, I always leave a window for this detour, whether for brightly colored greeting cards in Bangkok, a plate from a sidewalk market in Tel Aviv, or modestly but undeniably bejeweled earrings from Hyderabad, in south India. I view such items as trophies from my forays into other cultures—more anthropological than consumerist in spirit. T+L writer Lynn Yaeger would no doubt concur, given the depth and breadth of the wardrobe she can’t leave behind. My fellow hunter-gatherers will find a lot to love in Alexandra Marshall’s “Jewels of Rajasthan”—I’ve already attested to one return on shopping in India.

There are attractions of another sort in Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent, where 16th- and 17th-century paintings and decoration coexist with 21st-century design innovations, as Heather Smith MacIsaac discovered on her recent trip through Flanders. In its present incarnation as a fashion-world “it place,” Tulum, on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, is also a testament to coexistence—between a 1,000-year-old Mayan archaeological site and the latest genre of laid-back beach resorts.

So here’s my resolve: I will manage my calendar better, applying what I can from T+L editors’ top picks for “The 60 Best Apps and Websites for Travelers” and prioritizing my own interests to ensure I make it to more of the places I want to go.

Where to Find Me

Twitter: @TLNancy